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  • 2020 Ocean Develoopment & International Law

    Accepted author manuscript, 392 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 5/09/22

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND Show licence


The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is heralded as a constitution for the oceans, and as part of this, provides for a compulsory dispute settlement procedure entailing binding decisions. However, case law and academic commentary have highlighted significant issues in definitively identifying other agreements that could preclude these compulsory procedures – a concept permitted by the Convention in certain circumstances. This paper begins to explore this challenge by contending that the type of agreement plays a significant role in whether or not it could be determined to be an ‘exclusionary agreement’. In doing so, the article conducts a systematic interpretation of Articles 281 and 282 UNCLOS, underpinned by the application of relevant provisions in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This provides a conclusive basis as to whether the status of an agreement as an ‘ad hoc agreement’ (specific; adopted for the dispute) or an ‘existing agreement’ (general; adopted prior to the dispute) holds any significance in the context of these articles.


  • Dispute settlement, jurisdiction, law of the sea, procedure, treaty interpretation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-142
JournalOcean Development & International Law
Issue number2
Early online date5 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021
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