What lies beneath: Will deep seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction by non-state, corporate actors jeopardise achievement of the 'Common Heritage of Mankind'?

Dingwall, Joanna (2019) What lies beneath: Will deep seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction by non-state, corporate actors jeopardise achievement of the 'Common Heritage of Mankind'? PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

This thesis evaluates the role of non-State actors as participants in the legal regime governing deep seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction (the “deep seabed” or the “Area”), with a focus on corporate participation. Deep seabed exploration and exploitation is regulated on behalf of the international community as a whole by the International Seabed Authority (“ISA”). The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”) provides the broad legal framework within which the ISA operates. The overwhelming majority of States are parties to UNCLOS (the US being the most notable exception).
UNCLOS is underpinned by the principle that the Area and its mineral resources constitute the common heritage of mankind. No State or commercial entity can unilaterally claim sovereignty over them. All exploration and exploitation activities must be conducted with the ISA’s permission and oversight. Much of the existing legal structure applicable to mining in the deep seabed has yet to be applied in practice and many legal rules have still to be developed. Despite this lack of a completed legal framework, deep sea mining technology is racing ahead. After decades of anticipation and exploration, deep seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction is set to begin in the coming years. A host of actors are already operating within the Area, including an array of non-State actors such as corporate entities.
In this context, this thesis analyses whether imminent commercial mining activities in the Area by non-State, corporate actors will serve to undermine the UNCLOS conception of the common heritage of mankind. A product of its history, the UNCLOS legal regime applicable to the deep seabed is an unlikely hybrid of capitalist and communist values, embracing the role of private actors while enshrining principles of resource distribution. Given the potential for conflict between the values underpinning the regime, how will the regime function when mining by non-State actors commences? What legal challenges or contradictions, if any, will this present for the operation of the UNCLOS regime, particularly in terms of the realisation of the common heritage of mankind?

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Tams, Prof. Christian and Papanicolopulu, Assoc Prof Irini
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 6 March 2022
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-41069
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2019 08:29
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2019 08:14
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/41069

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