Sooraj Sharma & Shujoy Mazumdar writes about the Equitable Principles and the delimitation of the Continental shelf.


One of the controversial areas of the International Law of the Seas is the delimitation of the maritime boundary of continental shelf between states with opposite or adjacent coasts. The 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf established the equidistant principle, which became the accepted rule as regards the parties to the convention. As regards states which are not parties to the convention as has been the case predominantly in International adjudication bodies the rules of customary international law have to be employed. The first time a maritime dispute of such a nature was submitted to the International Court of the Justice was in the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases where it held that customary international law warrants the application of the rules of equity to delimitate the boundary of the continental shelf. Whereas, the equidistant principle was applied in the Anglo French Arbitration. From an understanding of the decisions of the World Court and arbitral tribunals it appears there exists a divergence in opinion on which rule reflects customary international law the equitable principle or the equidistant principle? The object of this paper is summarily to determine at length how the principles of equity have developed and how far they would be applicable in disputes of such a nature with an insight into the India, Bangladesh and Myanmar dispute.