San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article examines the potential obstacles that must be overcome before the creation of a global law of the sea treaty. The author argues that, even if the Conference proceeds quickly to approve a text, the treaty may never enter into force, because it will be very difficult and time-consuming for the new treaty to be accepted by a majority of the States in the world. The author reviews the various problems likely to be encountered, including signatures not followed by required ratifications, crippling reservations, and States' reluctance to be party to treaties containing dispute settlement clauses. The author examines the precursors to the UNCLOS III treaty and what post-signature barrier might exist to the prompt entry into force of a global law of the sea treaty, and concludes that, given the patterns of the past thirty years, it is likely that a new treaty will never enter into force.