ITLOS Trust Fund

Voluntary trust fund to assist States in the settlement of disputes through the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

Eligibility for Assistance

Assistance may be provided to States parties to the Convention who have, or are about to submit cases to the Tribunal, including its Seabed Disputes Chamber and any other Chamber, and primarily where cases are proceeding to the merits and where jurisdiction is not an issue. Exceptionally, States may be provided with assistance for other phases of proceedings.

Application

The State must request the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) for financial assistance from the Voluntary Trust Fund through its Permanent Mission in New York.

  1. It must submit a completed application form, providing information on the case and details on the expenditures for which assistance is requested (including copies of estimates or receipts documenting each of these); and

  2. A commitment to supply a certified final statement of account of the expenditures. This is a pre-requisite to the disbursement of assistance from the Trust Fund. The UN cannot disburse funds without receipt from the requesting State of an audited statement of account.

Forms

Application forms available by contacting the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea

Assistance

Assistance may be granted from the Trust Fund for the following: 

  1. Preparing the application and the written pleadings;

  2. Professional fees of counsel and advocates for written and oral pleadings;

  3. Travel and expenses of legal representation in Hamburg during the various phases of a case; and

  4. Execution of an Order of Judgment of the Tribunal, such as marking a boundary in the territorial sea.

Note: the United Nations will make arrangements for travel funded under this Trust Fund, and in all cases assistance will be provided for travel in economy class airfare which follows the most cost-effective route, arriving the day before the proceedings and departing the evening of the last day of the proceedings, or the following day if necessary for travel-related reasons.

About

This Trust Fund was established in 2000 by the Secretary-General in accordance with General Assembly resolution 55/7 and pursuant to the Agreement on Cooperation and Relationship between the United Nations and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“the Tribunal”) of 18 December 1997 (resolution 52/251, annex).

More about the establishment of this Trust Fund

     Resolution 55/7 - Oceans and the Law of the Sea noted with satisfaction the continued contribution of the Tribunal to the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with Part XV of the Convention, and underlined its important role and authority concerning the interpretation or application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ("the Convention") and the Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the Convention. The resolution further encouraged States parties to the Convention to consider making a written declaration choosing from the means set out in article 287 for the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention and the Agreement, and invited States to note the provisions of annexes V, VI, VII and VIII to the Convention concerning, respectively, conciliation, the Tribunal, arbitration and special arbitration. Operative paragraph 9 of that resolution requested the Secretary-General to establish a voluntary trust fund to assist States in the settlement of disputes through the Tribunal, and to report annually to the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the status of the fund.

     According to its Terms of Reference, the purpose of the Fund is to provide financial assistance to States parties to the Convention for expenses incurred in connection with cases submitted, or to be submitted, to the Tribunal, including its Seabed Disputes Chamber and any other Chamber. Under the Terms of Reference, assistance should only be provided in appropriate cases, principally those proceeding to the merits where jurisdiction is not an issue, but in exceptional circumstances may be provided for any phase of the proceedings.

     The terms of reference also provide for a List of offers of professional assistance which may be made by suitably qualified persons or bodies.