Webinar: Maritime boundary delimitation in practice

On 18 May 2022, Volterra Fietta hosted a virtual seminar on “Maritime boundary delimitation in practice”.

Maritime boundary delimitation, or the process of dividing maritime areas between sovereign States, is a complex legal and technical process.  It is also one of the most important diplomatic processes relevant in the global economy today.  However, only a handful of coastal States have successfully delimitated all their potential maritime boundaries.  This means that hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars of natural resources sitting in the ocean floor, or swimming in the waters, have no straightforward owner.  This has resulted in several long-standing disputes surrounding maritime boundary delimitation being brought before the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”), International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”) and arbitral tribunals.

This seminar will address the practice of maritime boundary delimitation, as compared to its theory.  It will discuss how States and private companies alike can better understand and negotiate, and if necessary, plead maritime boundary delimitation in the most sophisticated and detail-oriented ways.  Our speakers will include a world-renowned hydrographer, a lawyer specialising in these disputes and a judge from ITLOS.

The speakers were:

Judge Stanislaw Michal Pawlak, Member of ITLOS and Member of ITLOS Special Chamber in the Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives).  He is Professor Emeritus, University of Warsaw.  He is also an Arbitrator under Annexes V and VII of UNCLOS and he teaches at WSB University in Warsaw.  He has served as Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Administration, Warsaw Academy of Computer Science and Administration.  Judge Pawlak was the Head of Polish delegation in the talks with East Germany on the Agreement of 22 May 1989 on delimitation of the maritime boundary.  He has also written extensively on the law of the sea, including a book chapter titled “Some Reflections on Factors Exerting Influence on Maritime Boundary Delimitation”.  He has worked with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 50 years and among others served as the Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN and Ambassador for Poland to Canada and Syria.

Dr Robin Cleverly, the founder of Marbdy Consulting Ltd.  Marbdy Consulting Ltd provides expert technical advice in the field of maritime boundary determination, particularly in dispute resolution and principally to governments and law firms.  He has been working in the specialised field of maritime boundaries for over 20 years.  Dr Cleverly has worked extensively on international maritime boundary cases at the ICJ, ITLOS and UNCLOS Annex VII tribunals.  He has also advised on outer continental shelf submissions before the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  He is co-author of “A Practitioner’s Guide to Maritime Boundary Delimitation”.  Dr Cleverly has more than 25 years’ experience as a geologist in the oil industry, 4 years as exploration manager with a specialist satellite mapping company, and 15 years working in the specialised field of maritime boundaries, ultimately as Head of the Law of the Sea Group at the UK Hydrographic Office.

Mr Gunjan Sharma, Partner at Volterra Fietta.  Mr Sharma has represented States before the ICJ, represented investors and States in investor-State arbitrations and been counsel to clients before numerous US courts.  He has served as an expert witness on behalf of a State on matters of sovereign immunity, public international law and administrative law.  He also counsels clients, including States, on maritime and territorial disputes and UNCLOS.  He has advised States as legal counsel during treaty negotiations and on boundary delimitation matters.  In 2020, the Legal 500 listed Mr Sharma under the “Rising Star” category for public international law.  The same publication noted that peers and clients referred to him as a “future star in the public international law area for sure”.