high seas

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Under Article 13(1)(a) of the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas, all parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial waters or the internal waters of a state. Article 87 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 guaranteed the principle of freedom of the high seas for both coastal and land-locked states. The high seas as defined by Article 86 of the UN Convention exclude the exclusive economic zone. However, the freedoms of all states to fly over, navigate, lay submarine cables, etc., in the exclusive economic zone, as stated in the earlier Geneva Convention on the High Seas 1958, have been preserved in Article 58 (1) of the UN Convention.

The English courts have jurisdiction to try offences committed by anyone anywhere on the high seas in a British ship. They also have jurisdiction to try offences committed anywhere in the world on board a British-controlled aircraft while it is in flight. See also deep seabed area; law of the sea; res communis.

Subjects: Law.

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