19 Austl. Int'l L.J. 213 (2012)
Deep Seabed Mining: Implications of Seabed Disputes Chamber's Advisory Opinion

handle is hein.journals/austintlj2012 and id is 219 raw text is: Deep Seabed Mining:
Implications of Seabed Disputes Chamber's Advisory Opinion
TIM POISEL*
Abstract
In February 2011, the Seabed Disputes Chamber unanimously adopted an advisory
opinion: Responsibilities and Obbiations of States Sponsoring Persons and Entities with Respect
to Activities in the Area. This opinion is significant as it provides guidance on the
governance of activities in the Area and clarifies the obligations of a sponsoring state,
and its potential liabilities, in circumstances where damage is caused by the activities
of the sponsored entity in the Area. Importantly, the opinion sets the highest
standards of due diligence for all sponsoring states, irrespective of whether it is a
developed or developing state and its financial capabilities. While not absolutely
protecting the Area from the risk of environmental harm, the opinion will ensure that
deep seabed mining activities operate within strict limits with the aim of preventing
harm to the common heritage of mankind.
I       Introduction
On 1 February 2011, the Seabed Disputes Chamber ('Chamber') of the International
Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ('ITLOS') delivered its first advisory opinion in
Responsibilities and Obligations of States Sponsoring Persons and Entities with Respect to Activities in
the Area.' The Advisory Opinion represents the first proceedings before the Chamber and the
first time that ITLOS has invoked its advisory opinion jurisdiction under art 191 of the
United iNations Convention on the Law of the Sea.2
The Advisory Opinion is significant because it clarifies the obligations of a sponsoring
state, and its potential liabilities, in circumstances where damage is caused by the activities
B.A (Hons), LLB University of Sydney, is a solicitor in private practice. An earlier version of this article was
submitted as part of an LLNI at the Univ crsity of Sydney.
Seonbl     and OblIgaions of State Sponoring Peron and liities with R e to Aiii  n the Area (Advisory
Opinion) (Intcrnational Tribunal for the Law of the Sca, Scabed Disputes Chamber, Case No 17, 1 February 2011)
<http://www.itlos.org/Fileadmin /itlos/ documents/ cases/ case no_17/adv_op_010211.pdf> ('Adlirory Opinion'.
For further commentary sec Tim Stephens and Georgina Hutton, 'What Future for Deep Scabed Mining in the
PaciFic?' (2011) 13 Asa Paafic joualod Ilironmental Lau, 151; David Freestone, 'Responsibilities and Obligations
of Statcs Sponsoring Persons and Entitics with Respect to Activitics in the Arca' (2011) 105 Am ea, Joural of
Int ei -onal ln'755; Donald Anton, Robert Makgill and Cymie Payne, 'Seabed Mining -  Advisory Opinion on
Responsibility and Liability' (2011) 41 Enironmental Po!  and Law 60; Duncan French, 'From the Depth: Rich
Pickings of Principles of Sustainable Development and General International Law on the Ocean Floor - the
Scabed Disputes Chamber's 2011 Advisory Opinion' (2011) 26 Interna l fournal of Mane and Coastal Law 525;
Peter Henley, 'M\inerals and Mechanisms: The Legal Significance of the Notion of the Common Heritage of
Mankind in the Advisory Opinion the Scabed Disputes Chamber Case Note' (2011) 12 Meibourne journal of
Int etona I am 373.
2   Unie Nat on (noention on the Law of the Sea, opened for signature 10 December 1982, 1833 UNTS 397 (cntered
into force 16 November 1994) ('1OS Conrention'.

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