Law and Science in the Definition, Delineation, and Delimitation of the Continental Shelf


Ocean Group Seminar Series 2022 - The influence of law and science in defining the continental shelf.

22 sep 2022
15:00 - 16:00
Hybrid: Room C32 and ZOOM
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Dr. Hilde Woker


The legal definition, delineation and delimitation of the continental shelf represent the interface between law and science. Both law and science are strongly involved in defining, delineating, and delimiting the continental shelf. At the same time, the scientific concept of the continental shelf differs from the legal concept of the continental shelf in various ways. This presentation will provide an overview of how and to what extent the concept of the continental shelf is influenced by both law and science, and will zoom in on some important aspects of this concept and its relationship with science. Can the drafting history be of any help in explaining the non-alignment between law and science? To what extent is it problematic that the legal and scientific concepts do not perfectly align? How have international courts and tribunals approached the legal-scientific nature of the continental shelf, and to what extent does this approach influence the definition, delineation, and delimitation of the continental shelf? These are important questions that this presentation aims to address.

About the speaker:


Dr. Hilde Woker is an Assistant Professor of Public International Law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at Leiden University. She specializes in the law of the sea, with a particular focus on the law-science interface, the legal regime for marine scientific research, and the legal regime for the continental shelf. Hilde previously worked at the Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea (NCLOS) in Tromsø, Norway, where she also undertook her PhD research on the law-science interface within the law of the sea, focusing on a case study of the continental shelf.