JEAIL > Volume 14(2); 2021 > Articles
Research Paper
Published online: Nov. 30, 2021

Betwixt “the Wise Man and the Prince”: A Partnership in Comity and Conciliation for the South China Sea Disputes

Mary George & Anneliz R. George
University of Malaya
Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

In a region fraught with tensions and conflicts, the South China Sea Arbitral Award Case (Case) concerned maritime conflicts between the Philippines and China, an inter-State, non-consensual, ex-parte arbitration under Annex VII of the UN Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS). The Case went against China. The Annex VII Tribunal decision of first and last instance, was final and without appeal. However, to the authors, the Case drew attention to the inherently unfair provisions of an exparte hearing under Annex VII that violates the principle of natural justice and casts uncertainty on the role and future of mandatory conciliation under the UNCLOS. These omissions are addressed here. Noting these omissions and limitations, to restore regional goodwill, ameliorate conflicts and tensions, and promote dispute settlement, a solution in mandatory conciliation is proposed -“A Partnership in Comity and Conciliation for the South China Sea”- with its provenance rooted in international law.

Keywords : South China Sea Disputes, Ex-parte Hearings under Annex VII, Mandatory Conciliation, A Partnership in Comity and Conciliation, UNCLOS

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