The high seas
in The law of the sea
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The high seas comprise all parts of the sea that are not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State, or in the archipelagic waters of an archipelagic State. After considering the definition and legal status of the high seas, the chapter analyses the concept of the freedom of the high seas, noting the controversies arising in this regard given the non-exhaustive list of examples provided in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It then provides a detailed assessment of jurisdiction on the high seas, explaining that whilst the legal regime of the high seas has traditionally been characterised by the dominance of the principles of free use and the exclusivity of flag State jurisdiction, in practice the picture is very different. It considers this issue with respect to piracy and other threats to the safety of navigation, unauthorised broadcasting, slavery, people and drug trafficking, ships of uncertain nationality and stateless ships. It concludes with a section addressing the right of hot pursuit and constructive presence.

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