Fletcher in the News

China to Create Its Own International Courts for Maritime Claims: Prof. Burgess Comments

China is continuing with its plan announced earlier this year to create two Chinese-controlled international maritime courts that would be used to provide China’s interpretation of maritime law. The continuation of the plan is the latest signal that China has not given up on pushing forward its maritime claims in the South China Sea, which have been decisively ruled as unlawful by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in a high profile case last year.

On Oct. 25, 2017 during the “2017 Shanghai International Shipping Law Forum” held in Shanghai, Chinese legal scholars and officials affirmed prominently a previously reported plan of creating two international maritime arbitration courts to help project China’s own vision and views on international maritime law...

...According to John Burgess, Executive Director of the international law program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts Unviersity, China’s move to create its own international maritime arbitration center “seems at best entirely redundant and unnecessary.”

“At worst, and without knowing the details, it suggests an effort to create a captive system of arbitration that might divert cases from the procedures created by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” said John Burgess. “[It will] generate a set of precedents faithful to the Chinese view of how the law of the sea ’should’ be interpreted, and thereby undermine the comprehensive, neutral and truly international system contemplated by UNCLOS.”

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