|'Creeping' advisory jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals? The case of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea|Ruys, T.; Soete, A. (2016). 'Creeping' advisory jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals? The case of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Leiden Journal of International Law 29(1): 155-176. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0922156515000692
In: Leiden Journal of International Law. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. ISSN 0922-1565, more
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; ITLOS; advisory opinion;advisory jurisdiction; UNCLOS
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On 2 April 2015, the full International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) rendered its first advisory opinion in reply to a request of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Unlike any other court or tribunal with advisory competence, including the Seabed Disputes Chamber, ITLOS' advisory jurisdiction is not explicitly enshrined in its constituent instrument, but was rather asserted in the Tribunal's, homemade, rules of procedure. In spite of strong objections from various states, ITLOS affirmed a broad advisory jurisdiction ratione materiae and personae, and found that there were no compelling reasons to exercise its discretionary power to dismiss the request. The request and the Tribunal's handling thereof raise interesting questions regarding the opportunities and risks inherent to, and the outer limits of, the advisory jurisdiction of international courts and tribunals. This contribution takes a look at the advisory jurisdiction of the full Tribunal, having regard to the experiences of other international courts and tribunals.