Questions and Answers, International Law

Here are student questions submitted by e-mail, along with my responses. These are quick informal responses, not designed as thorough or formal statements of the law. To submit a question, click here .

QUESTION 2 (April 26, 2002): Does the contiguous zone extend out 24 miles from the territorial sea or the low water mark of the coast?

RESPONSE (April 26, 2002): Under the UNCLOS, 24 miles from the baseline. Under the old 1958 Convention on the TS & Cont. Zone, 12 miles from the baseline.

QUESTION 1 (April 23, 2002): There is an inconsistency in my notes regarding the power of the ICJ in reviewing arbitration decisions. Assuming the arbitration agreement provides for ICJ review, can the ICJ look at whether the decision of the Arbitration Panel was correct under international law. I know that the ICJ can look at whether the panel had jurisdiction under the agreement to decide a particular issue.

RESPONSE (April 24, 2002): I don't think arbitration agreements typically provide for "ICJ review." The point is that whatever agreement sets up the arbitration makes the arbitral decision binding. (Otherwise "arbitration" is the wrong word to use.) But what if there is a dispute over the obligation contained in the arbitration agreement? (E.g., did the arbitral panel exceed its power?) That decision, one of international law, can get decided in any of the ways that international law issues get resolved, including reference to the ICJ where the jurisdictional requirements of the ICJ are met.

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