Part B Commentary on Judgments and Awards in Maritime Boundary Delimitation Disputes, 10 Canada v. France (Award of the Arbitral Tribunal, 10 June 1992)
Stephen Fietta, Robin Cleverly
- Coastal states — Continental shelf — Islands and artificial islands — Delimitation — Territorial sea — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea)
This chapter starts by introducing the case, which concerned the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Canada and two islands, St Pierre and Miquelon, which collectively is described as a French ‘collectivité territoriale’ in the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean. The dispute dated back to 1966, when Canada and France exchanged notes verbales and aide mémoires stating their positions with regard to continental shelf delimitation following the issuance of hydrocarbon exploration permits by each party. The chapter argues that this was an unusual case involving delimitation between a group of small islands, on the one hand, and a large nearby continental State, on the other. The two sides were in a relationship of coastal adjacency with regard to the majority of the disputed area. The case provides an important precedent in the context of small islands situated adjacent to large continental landmasses and abutting open ocean areas. The chapter ends with some notes on developments since the Award.