UNCLOS Webinar: Claiming the unclaimed: the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nm

On 14 April 2022, Volterra Fietta hosted the virtual seminar “Claiming the unclaimed:  the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nm”.

The continental shelf is the largest maritime area within a State’s national jurisdiction. It is an area of increasing importance, commercially and otherwise. States have sole rights to drilling, fishing and mining on continental shelf within their jurisdiction. Upon submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (the “CLCS”), States may be entitled to extend those rights to the outer edges of the continental shelf, beyond 200 nm.  However, this process of claiming rights to an extended continental shelf before the CLCS is complex and technical, often entailing years of preparing, delivering and defending submissions.  And, where States’ maritime areas overlap, entitlement to and delimitation of the outer edges of the continental shelf is subject to significant controversy.

This seminar addressed the various technical and legal issues related to establishing an extended continental shelf and the process of submissions to the CLCS.

Our distinguished panel of speakers were:

Peter Croker, Director and Principal at The M Horizon (UK) Ltd.  Mr Croker is the former Chair of the CLCS.  He advises governments and assists international law firms on technical maritime issues in cases before the International Court of Justice.  Mr Croker has more than 35 years of experience in the oil and gas business. Previously, Mr Croker held the role of Senior Geophysicist at the Petroleum Exploration Division of Ireland’s Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, which monitors and regulates petroleum exploration activity offshore and onshore in Ireland.

Professor Bjørn Kunoy, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Faroe Islands. Professor Kunoy teaches public international law and law of the sea at the University of the Faroe Islands. He is also a regular speaker in international symposiums on law of the sea related matters. He is on the list of conciliators and arbitrators under UNCLOS Annexes V and VII. Professor Kunoy has also acted as agent and counsel in interstate arbitration and has advised a number of States on treaty interpretative matters and law of the sea related questions and has been appointed Head of Delegation in proceedings with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Dr Lindsay Parson, Managing Director at Maritime Zone Solutions.  Dr Parson is a marine geologist with more than 30 years of experience in technical issues arising out of the law of the sea, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Dr Parson provides advisory and technical services to governments, organisations and institutes in connection with their maritime space and resource base.  He was a permanent member and technical lead of the UK delegation submitting and defending submissions to the CLCS.  Prior to that, he was the UK Member and UN Chair of the International Seabed Authority’s Legal and Technical Commission

Florentine Vos, Associate at Volterra Fietta.  Ms Vos advises States, international organisations and private clients on issues of public international law and international dispute settlement, including before the International Court of Justice and in investor-State arbitration.  Her expertise covers a wide array of public international law topics, including the law on the sea, such as dispute resolution under UNCLOS and maritime boundary delimitation.

This event was moderated by Robert Volterra.  Mr Volterra is Partner at Volterra Fietta and Visiting Professor of Law at University College London.  He advises and represents governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of public international law issues, including the law of the sea.  Mr Volterra regularly acts as co‑agent, counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc international arbitration tribunals, including under the UNCLOS rules.  Mr Volterra is on the UK Attorney General’s A-list for public international law practitioners.  He has advised and represented States on complex and technical maritime boundary delimitation issues, in both contentious and non-contentious matters.