Anglo Norwegian Fisheries Case (Summary on Customary International Law)


Public International law

Case: Anglo Norwegian Fisheries Case (UK vs Norway)

Year of Decision: 1951. Court: ICJ.

The Court was asked to decide, inter-alia, the validity, under international law, of the methods used to delimit Norway’s territorial sea/ fisheries zone. We would not discuss the technical aspects of the judgment. The judgment contained declarations on customary international law. However, the value of the jurisprudence was diminished because these declarations lacked in-depth discussion.

Background to the case

The United Kingdom requested the court to decide if Norway had used a legally acceptable method in drawing the baseline from which it measured its territorial sea. The United Kingdom argued that customary international law did not allow the length of a baseline drawn across abay to be longer than ten miles. Norway argued that its delimitation method was consistent with general principles of international law.

Formation of customary law

The court consistently referred to positive (1) state practice and (2) lack of…

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