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Current legal developments: International Court of Justice: Case concerning sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia v Singapore) ICJ Judgment of 23 May 2008

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2010
JournalInternational Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Number of pages21
Original languageEnglish


This article discusses the legal issues raised in this ICJ Judgment and assesses them in the context of the jurisprudence of international tribunals concerning acquisition of territory. This case is particularly important in terms of the evidence accepted in support of legal concepts related to the passing of territory, such as acquisitive prescription and tacit agreement, and the role played by acquiescence in their materialisation. What is also interesting is that despite its usual preference for the bearer of the original title in cases where adverse possession has been advocated by one litigant, the ICJ decided in favour of the cession of the original title on the basis of the conduct by the states. Finally, this article concludes by identifying the implications of this Judgment for the relationships between the litigant states both with regard to this dispute but also with regard to other related bilateral concerns related to the maritime delimitation in the area.