The North Sea Continental Shelf cases of 1969, the fi rst of their kind in the history of continental-shelf boundary delimitations, have had great infl uence on the development of the law of maritime boundary delimitation over the past 40 years, during which some 20 maritime boundary delimitation cases have been decided by international arbitral and judicial tribunals. It was quoted even in the most recent maritime delimitation case between Romania and Ukraine in the Black Sea of 3 February 2009 before the International Court of Justice (hereinafter the “ICJ”). 1
Being the fi rst-ever case of continental-shelf boundary delimitation, the North Sea cases had to address a number of basic issues related to the regime of the continental shelf: the very basis for title to the continental shelf; whether the regime is a customary rule of international law; whether the delimitation rule under the 1958 Convention on the
* This paper was originally prepared for presentation at the Japanese-Korean conference sponsored by the Korean Society of International Law and held at Kyushu University Faculty of Law, Fukuoka, Japan on 21 August 2009: The 40th Anniversary of the ICJ Judgment on the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases – Refl ections and Prospects . The author gratefully acknowledges the permission of the conference organisers for the publication of this paper elsewhere for a wider readership besides in the conference fi le. Incidentally, the Korean Society sponsored another conference in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties in Seoul on 19 November 2009. See the conference fi le: Four Decades of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: Refl ections and Prospects . † Of the Editorial Board of this Yearbook . 1 The Romania/Ukraine Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea case quotes the North Sea cases, for example, in respect of the basis of the costal State for title to the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone:
As the Court stated in the North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany/ Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany/Netherlands) cases, “the land is the legal source of the power which a State may exercise over territorial extensions to seaward” ( Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1969, p. 51, para. 96).