Professor Bernard Oxman to Serve as Judge Ad Hoc for International Tribunal on Maldives/Mauritius Dispute


Professor Bernard Oxman

Professor Bernard Oxman

Professor Bernard Oxman, director of Miami Law’s LL.M. in Maritime Law, served as a judge ad hoc of the Special Chamber constituted by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He heard the dispute between the Republic of Maldives and the Republic of Mauritius concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean. The hearing opened on October 13th.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an independent judicial body established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the Convention. It is composed of elected members “from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea.”

Oxman previously served as judge ad hoc of the Tribunal in the Land Reclamation dispute between Malalysia and Singapore, and in the Bay of Bengal maritime delimitation dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar, and as judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, in the Black Sea maritime delimitation dispute between Romania and Ukraine.

Oxman is the only American ever appointed to serve on both courts.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hearing will be held in a hybrid format, combining the physical and virtual participation of both members of the Chamber and representatives of the Parties.

The Tribunal formed a special chamber to deal with the dispute. The Special Chamber consists of President Paik (Republic of Korea), who will preside over the Special Chamber, as well as Tribunal Judges Jesus (Cabo Verde), Cot (France), Yanai (Japan), Bouguetaia (Algeria), Heidar (Iceland) and Chadha (India), and two members specially chosen by the parties. Maldives chose Oxman.

Oxman holds the Richard A. Hausler endowed chair at Miami Law, where he directs its graduate program in Maritime Law. A recipient of the University Senate’s Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, he is a member of the Institut de Droit International, the American Law Institute, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and served for a decade as co-editor in chief of the American Journal of International Law.

This prestigious appointment followed maritime law alumnus Keith Wold, LL.M. ‘17, establishing the Keith C. Wold Maritime Law LL.M. Program Teaching Fund which allows Miami Law to bring in the most renowned experts in the fields of international law and law of the sea.

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