Unco rrected

,; C l/CR


Cour internationale


de Justice


International Court of Justice THE HAGUE

YEAR 1984

Case concerning the Delimitation of the Gulf of Maine Area (Canada/United
Public sitting of the held

Maritime Boundaryin the States of America) Chamber

on ~ednesday Judge

4 April 1984, at of the

3 p.m.

at the Peace Palace,

ARO, President






Affaire de la Del1mitadon de la du golfe du Maine (Canada/Etats
Audience tenue le mercredi publiaue 1984, de la

frontiere maritime Unis d'Ameriaue) chambre au palais de la Paix,

4 avei1

a 15


sous la presidence de M. Ago, President de la chambre


of the conduct of rights party to a dispute. Vol. assumed of an equidistance divergent The fact version nature that each side had a marginally technical of an equidistance of the divergence line is all-important. p. by the terms of the United concordance aide-memoire the C<madian of 5 November Govermnent Bank This important document formally to the "northern States ha. of the legal position represented. Mr. 68). of conduct of policies on the part which of both Governments the existence involved The the implementation line. 1 now turn. be impertinent and I shall to offer coniine the Chamber a lengthy disquisition on the myself to a brief statement of the principle.ined from authorizing exploration in the a't'ea" ~C. . knowledge.. with regard shelf".- 65 - ~hen a protest or rese~/a:ion w~s c~lleci for. Ann. The issuing of permits directly related to the exercise of legal ri.hts in respect or the mineral resources of the continental shelf. of view is evidenced 1969. So much for the facts relevant to the issues of acquiescence and estoppel. Annexes. indicates a substantial The restricted concordance of view of areas as to the nature of the Georges This States assured and extent of Canada's legal rights in respect Bank. of the other The essence of the principle is that one government's or assertion actua. pO't'cionof the Georges continental mineral " the United or exploitation refra. and officials on both sides course appreciated their legal implications for delimitation. to the legal principle of acquiescence. and the failure to protest in the face or assertion of rights. It would doctrine. si~ce the implications or ~he pe~it progr3~e were obvious. Ill. involves a tacit acceptance of that conduct.l or constructive.. President. 13.s that.

(I. activity of rights.C. secondly. for thel purposes to protest of the is Governments treated as integral connection. and. '. . of protest face of IthiS publi~ ~ttivity or reservation of rights. units law of acquiescence in another The duty created not only when actual knowledge is established rut also when knowledge may be inferred in situations in which reasonable opportunities for knowing of the conduct of the other party existed.J. of government No curtains are drawn between different departments or between are senior and junior officials. Reports 195].'-- '. 138-139). The authorities on the subject of acquiescence dolnot contain any reference to a condition that officials should have authority to bind the acquiescent State. There and keepin~ silent of a of having or the means is a tacit transaction acceptance and of the legal position. "' programme. The of knowledge. L The which elements' of special in should importance thadI the conduct affectin~ le~al rights is acquiesced be a public as becween the parties.. thi. pp.. the law treats governments as integral units for the purposes bf the law relating to acquiescence.. Far from propounding such a principle. . is Ino question consequently there is no question of authority on the part of officials to bind the State as in the context"of treaty-making. 66 - represented by the other party's conduct or assertion are first. In the Fisheries case the Court stated that in the circumstances "the Ubited Kingdom I could not have been ignorant of the Decree of ]869 which had at once provoked a request for explanations by the French Governmen~' . that in there result should be an absence knowledge. that the United States possessed actual It may be recalled knOYledge of the Canadian permit programme in April ]j65' vherea.

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