Centre for International Law

Past Event – Arbitration between the Philippines and China: Award on Jurisdiction

15 January 2016 | Fireside Chat Series


On 22 January 2013, the Philippines initiated compulsory arbitration against China under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea with respect to its disputes with China over maritime jurisdiction, status of maritime features, maritime entitlement and certain actions by China in the South China Sea.

China decided not to participate in the proceedings. It claimed that the Arbitral Tribunal had no jurisdiction for the following reasons: (i) the underlying dispute was about territorial sovereignty, (ii) the Philippines and China had agreed in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct to resolve the disputes by negotiations, and (iii) China’s declaration under Article 298 excluded disputes on maritime delimitation.

In light of China’s objection to its jurisdiction, the Arbitral Tribunal decided to convene a separate hearing on jurisdiction in July 2015.

On 29 October 2015, the Arbitral Tribunal rendered its Award on Jurisdiction. It unanimously decided that it had jurisdiction over seven of the Philippines‘ submissions while the other submissions will be considered in conjuction with the merits. The Tribunal held the hearing on the merits from 24-30 November 2015. It is expected to render its award on the merits in 2016.

The 16th Session of the CIL Fireside Chat Series examined the Award on Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal and discuss the implications of the Award on the South China Sea disputes.


To download Prof Beckman’s presentation in PDF format, click here.

Hosts and Panellists

Professor S Jayakumar
Professor Tommy Koh

Mr Rodman Bundy, Director, Eversheds LLP
Professor Robert Beckman, Director, CIL

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