Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Adjacency, as used in the Law of the Sea, implies a defined area beyond the territorial sea applying to the superadjacent waters, the seabedand the subsoil. It also implies a relationship to the land. This paper is an examination of adjacency as a concept with particular emphasis placed on the possibilities of establishing the outer limits of an adjacent area. The concept of adjacency is addressed from historical,oceanographic, biological, geological and legal perspectives. An investigation into the State practice of projecting limited jurisdiction from shore into the sea by Britain and America is made to determine a possible genesis concerning the adjacency concept. Scientific knowledge gained since the 1958 Conference on the Law of the Sea is examined to see if the concept of adjacency can be identified in scientific terms. Finally, an overview of the legal concept of adjacency from the International Law Commission's work prior to the 1958 Conference is given along with publicist's utterances of the concept. The paper finds that the adjacency concept is valid within certain contexts and invalid in others. In conclusion, it is suggested that only the biological and geological concept of adjacency meet the criteria of defined area and relationship to the land.