International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) | IAS Target IAS Target

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 10 December 1982. The Convention established an international framework for law over "all ocean space, its uses, and resources". The ITLOS is one of four dispute resolution mechanisms listed in Article 287 of the UNCLOS. Furthermore, the Convention established the International Seabed Authority, with responsibility for the regulation of seabed mining beyond the limits of national jurisdiction that is beyond the limits of the territorial sea, the continental shelf, and the contiguous zone.

ITLOS entered into force November 16, 1994
Members 168 including European Union
Headquarter Hamburg, Germany
Working languages English, French

Composition of ITLOS

The Tribunal has a set of 21 judges who serve from a variety of states parties, with equitable geographical representation".
  • By agreement of the parties Mauritius and Maldives, the Tribunal formed a special chamber of 7 permanent judges and 2 ad hoc judges to deal with the Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Maldives and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
  • At the appeal of Chile and the European Union, the Tribunal set-up a special chamber composed of five judges to deal with the Case concerning the Conservation and Sustainable Exploitation of Swordfish Stocks in the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean (Chile/European Community).
  • By agreement of the parties Ghana and Ivory Coast, the Tribunal created a special chamber composed of five judges to deal with the Dispute concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.

India and ITLOS

  • In a significant victory for India at the UN, international law expert Neeru Chadha has won an election to a top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea, becoming the first Indian woman to be appointed as a judge at the tribunal. India is also a signatory to this convention.