Maritime boundary delimitations determined by judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings are necessarily and generally complex and difficult. After all, the matter had not been successfully settled by means of negotiations and escalated into an international dispute. The results achieved in such cases are therefore of paramount importance for shaping appropriate legal methods and rules on the subject upon which adjudication needs to rely. Delimitations to be resolved in judicial proceedings are the ultimate test of the feasibility of such rules, because it is here that they have to prove their viability and practicability in controversial configurations.
Unlike other areas of international law relating to resource allocation, maritime boundary law has developed a relatively rich body of judicial and important quasi-judicial settlements over the last four decades. Next to the jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995 and the settlement of investment disputes both within and outside the International Convention for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention), maritime boundary delimitation amounts to the most important field of ligitation in contemporary public international law. As of 1993, twenty delimitations had been submitted to judicial settlement.By January 2014, at least ten additional disputes have been settled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or arbitral tribunals. Maritime boundary delimitation emerged as a main preoccupation of the ICJ. The case law not only contributes to the law of maritime boundaries, but in a very substantial way to international law in general. Once again, the law of the sea spearheads general developments. Some of the cases became landmarks, engendering wide discussion way beyond the realm of maritime law.
The present chapter seeks to offer in chronological order brief summaries of the pertinent cases and provides a bibliography of the literature discussing them. Particular attention is paid at this point to the factual configurations causing the problem, the terms of reference and special agreements, the claims of the parties and the methods applied in resolving the dispute.