Power Politics in the Global Commons: Institutional Design and Function of the Law of the Sea Treaties

Basic information

  • Dates: 2018
  • Student researcher(s):
    • Peter Olson (honors project)
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Following World War II, states undertook efforts to codify existing norms of customary international law, paying particular attention to international humanitarian law and the law of the sea (LOS). The latter resulted in a series of treaties governing the activities of states on the high seas and on the seabed beneath the high seas. Similar to historical efforts to establish norms of customary international law, LOS treaty negotiations were dominated by powerful states, which attempted to set basic legal parameters and to induce less powerful states to accept such parameters through a combination of bargaining tactics. Despite these efforts, however, underlying tensions remain, which have important implications for contemporary international economic and security issues.


Joel Westra

Joel Westra

Department Chair
Director, Pre-Law Program
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