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TLI Talk sheds new light on maritime disputes in Asia

Posted on 23/03/2017

The role of law in maintaining peace in Asia's contested waters was the focus of a TLI Talk at King's College London this Monday. The session featured a lecture by Professor Mariko Kawano, Professor of International Law at Waseda University, on the topic of ‘Settlement and Management of International Maritime Disputes in Asia’. Professor Kawano serves as Advisor to the Headquarters for Ocean Policy and researches the pacific settlement of international disputes.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Professor Kawano examined the role of international courts and tribunals in settling maritime disputes in the region and the need for additional mechanisms to manage ongoing disputes. ‘It is possible to note that the development and enhancement of compulsory jurisdictions of international courts and tribunals has significantly contributed to the settlement of international maritime disputes’, said Professor Kawano. 

‘Increasing precedents in the number of maritime disputes being referred to international courts and tribunals reflect the difficulties in settling maritime disputes by negotiations and the trust and confidence of international courts and tribunals demonstrated by the Asian States. However, there are some limits of the effectiveness of those compulsory procedures. The results of the South China Sea Arbitration reflect the significances and limits of compulsory procedures.’

Following the lecture, Professor Kawano engaged in a dialogue with Penelope Nevill, barrister at 20 Essex Street Chambers and lecturer in public international law at The Dickson Poon School of Law, and participated in a lively Q&A session with the audience.

Stephen Minas, Senior Research Fellow at the TLI, welcomed the event. ‘Political change has brought increased uncertainty to the maintenance of a rules-based order in Asia's waters. We are grateful to Professor Kawano for examining both the role of courts and tribunals and the opportunities for complementary mechanisms to manage particularly “hard cases”’. The event follows the 2016 ‘Stress Testing the Law of the Sea’ conference, co-convened by the TLI and the Law of the Sea Institute at UC Berkeley, which examined the South China Sea Arbitration in-depth.

Please find Prof. Mariko Kawano's TLI Talk here.

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