UNCLOS is one of the few international conventions that provide mandatory jurisdiction entailing binding decisions for disputes arising from its interpretation and application. This has been hailed as one of the most significant developments in dispute settlement in international law. All state parties undertake the general obligation to settle any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of UNCLOS by peaceful means, with particular reference to the means chosen by the parties, including negotiation, special agreements, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement. Where the parties fail to reach a settlement through the means of their own choice, any party may request to submit the dispute to the court or tribunal having jurisdiction under the compulsory procedures subject to limitations and exceptions.

CIL is undertaking a research project on cases instituted under the dispute settlement regime in Part XV of UNCLOS and their implications on the law of the sea. The study includes the impact of the past cases on current and future uses of UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms. The study also examines the extent to which states comply with decisions of international courts and tribunals in law of the sea cases.