North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany/Netherlands)
OVERVIEW OF THE CASE
These cases concerned the delimitation of the continental shelf of the North Sea as between Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany, and as between the Netherlands and the Federal Republic, and were submitted to the Court by Special Agreement. The Parties asked the Court to state the principles and rules of international law applicable, and undertook thereafter to carry out the delimitations on that basis. By an Order of 26 April 1968 the Court, having found Denmark and the Netherlands to be in the same interest, joined the proceedings in the two cases. In its Judgment, delivered on 20 February 1969, the Court found that the boundary lines in question were to be drawn by agreement between the Parties and in accordance with equitable principles in such a way as to leave to each Party those areas of the continental shelf which constituted the natural prolongation of its land territory under the sea, and it indicated certain factors to be taken into consideration for that purpose. The Court rejected the contention that the delimitations in question had to be carried out in accordance with the principle of equidistance as defined in the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf. The Court took account of the fact that the Federal Republic had not ratified that Convention, and held that the equidistance principle was not inherent in the basic concept of continental shelf rights, and that this principle was not a rule of customary international law.
This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.