067- Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area (Canada vs USA)

On November 25th, 1981, Canada and the United States notified the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of a compromise under which they submitted to a Chamber of the Court the question of the delimitation of the maritime boundary dividing the continental shelf and fishing zones of the two Parties in the Gulf of Maine region. The Chamber was constituted by an order of January 20th, 1982.

Order of 20-01-1982.pdf

The ICJ issued its decision on the merits on October 12th, 1984. It stated that delimitation should be achieved through the application of equitable criteria and the use of practical methods capable of ensuring, taking into account the geographical configuration of the region and other relevant circumstances of the case, an equitable outcome. It rejected the delimitation lines proposed by the Parties and set out the criteria and methods that it considered applicable to the single delimitation line that it was asked to draw. The Court defined criteria mainly relating to geography and used geometric methods suitable for both the delimitation of the seabed and that of the superjacent waters.

The Court distinguished between 3 segments:

  1. With regard to the first segment, it considered that the area of overlap of the marine projections of the coasts of the two States could be divided equally.
  2. With regard to the second segment, it considered that a median line should be drawn approximately parallel to the two opposite coasts and that this line should be corrected to take account of the geography of the area.
  3. Finally, with regard to the third segment, which was in the open ocean, it consisted of a perpendicular to the closing line of the Gulf at the very point where the corrected midline meets this line.

Judgment of 12-10-1984.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.