Document Type



Presented as part of the Berger Lecture Series at Cornell Law School on September 19, 2008.


The recent assertion of maritime adjudicative jurisdiction by Australian courts over a Japanese whaling company for acts contrary to Australian law in the Antarctic Southern Ocean is alarming. Private litigation, based on an internationally disputed claim to sovereignty over Antarctic territory and a further contested claim to an EEZ appurtenant to that territory, ought not to serve as a proxy for cooperative (and hopefully effective) international management of the Antarctic environment. The big danger is that if other states follow Australia's lead in claiming sovereign rights and exercising attendant jurisdiction the chances of natural resource over-exploitation and environmental harm in the Antarctic is increased. It will, I believe, in the long run exacerbate the likelihood of a scramble for important, scarce and economically viable resources.

Date of Authorship for this Version

September 2008


Antarctica; Australia; Maritime law; Whaling