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Between a rock and a hard place: the South China Sea arbitration

Maritime Risk International

Between a rock and a hard place: the South China Sea arbitration

Derek Luxford, of Hicksons, investigates the implications of the recent international ruling on the South China Sea

Every now and then a court or a tribunal comes along with a landmark ruling with ramifications not only for the disputing parties but for many others as well. This is not uncommon in the realm of private international law in shipping, but it is not so common in the realm of public international law, particularly the law of the sea. Such a landmark ruling was handed down in July 2016 by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) when the tribunal issued its final award in The Republic of Philippines v The People’s Republic of China.

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