18 June 2020

Law of the Sea disputes now in Singapore

Since last week Law of the Sea disputes can be heard in Singapore regarding the agreement signed by Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam and President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Paik Jin-Hyun.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has a seat in Hamburg, Germany. Through this agreement, Singapore will become the first external site of ITLOS.

“The Model Agreement reaffirms Singapore’s commitment to the international rule of law and the peaceful settlement of disputes and is an endorsement of Singapore as a neutral venue for the effective settlement of international disputes”, said Shanmugam. "We are honoured to have the opportunity to host Tribunal hearings and thus contribute to the important work of the Tribunal”.

For Paik Jin-Hyun this agreement represents a great opportunity for Singapore, and he has thanked its Government for its cooperation. 

“The joint declaration provided the impetus for commencing negotiations on the terms and conditions of the Model Agreement. This, in turn, led to continued interactions between the Registry of the Tribunal and the Ministry of Law of Singapore. Several rounds of negotiations were held, including a final meeting in October 2019 between delegations of both parties at the premises of the Tribunal”, said Paik.

ITLOS had been established on 30 April 1982 by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

There are currently 168 States Parties to UNCLOS. ITLOS counts on the collaboration of 21 judges which represents four continents (5 judges are from Africa, 5 from Asia, 3 from Eastern Europe, 4 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 4 from Western Europe and other States).

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