Estoppel, Acquiescence and Recognition in Territorial and Boundary Dispute Settlement
Author: Nuno Sergio Marques Antunes
In contemporary international law, territorial changes can only take place, prima facie, if carried out in accordance with the principle of consent. However, neither territory nor boundaries are always defined by consent, nor are the manifestations of consent by states always absolutely clear and unequivocal.
In territorial and boundary dispute adjudication, international tribunals have to deal, somewhat frequently, with arguments based on the juridical concepts of acquiescence, recognition and estoppel. It has been considered that they will constitute "relevant considerations, and factors to be taken into consideration by any international tribunal faced with a dispute over territorial sovereignty." The purpose of this work is to describe how they have been dealt with by international courts in both territorial and boundary dispute settlement. The analysis of the relevant case law attempts to highlight the different ways in which the above-mentioned concepts have been used. It endeavours, moreover, to scrutinise the contents and the application of those concepts, and to look at some of the problems that may result.
Boundary & Territory Briefings (Vol. 2 no. 8)