Friday, February 2, 2024

Massimo Lando on Three Goals of States as They Seek Advisory Opinions from ITLOS (AJIL Unbound)

"Three Goals of States as They Seek Advisory Opinions from ITLOS"
Massimo Lando
AJIL Unbound (Volume 117 , 2023 , pp. 282 - 286)
Published online: December 2023

Extract: In most international tribunals, states alone can submit requests for advisory opinions.1 This is also true of requests to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) sitting in plenary composition. The United Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)2 does not expressly confer advisory jurisdiction on ITLOS. In practice, the Tribunal's advisory jurisdiction is governed by Article 138 of its Rules of Procedure, under which international agreements can empower entities to request advisory opinions of the Tribunal. The process leading to the making of advisory requests to ITLOS includes the drafting of legal questions and is largely political.3 In this process, sponsoring states have three goals: first, get requests before ITLOS; second, ensure that requests are not thrown out on grounds of jurisdiction or discretion; third, mobilize the constituency having stakes in the requests. This essay explores each of these goals.

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