Inaugural Lecture by Beacon Professor Jamie Trinidad KC: The disputed waters around Gibraltar: a brief history

Wednesday 17th July 2024
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Date: Wednesday 17th July 2024
Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm 
Location: Conference Hall, Europa Point Campus

About this lecture: The disputed waters around Gibraltar: a brief history

The dispute over the waters surrounding Gibraltar has been a major flashpoint in the broader Anglo-Spanish sovereignty dispute.
Britain claims three nautical miles of territorial sea around Gibraltar. Spain maintains that all the waters, apart from the internal waters of the Port, are Spanish. The basis for Spain’s claim is that no waters were expressly ceded in the Treaty of Utrecht. However, the British and Spanish positions were framed as recently as the 1960s. It is helpful to look back further if we want to understand the dispute today.
This lecture offers a brief survey of the dispute over Gibraltar’s waters, from its origins to the present day. It will describe how the physical extent, and legal basis, of the British maritime claim have changed significantly since 1704. Indeed, for centuries the epicentre of the dispute was an anchorage in front of Gibraltar’s northern fortifications, which washed onto a section of Spanish coastline (an area of water Britain no longer claims).
The lecture will explore how military and diplomatic aspects of this dispute have evolved in tandem with key developments in the international law of the sea, from the concept of ‘cannon shot’ jurisdiction, to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides a strong basis for Britain’s modern three-mile claim.
Through a historical prism, we can gain valuable insights into the current state of the dispute, and how it might evolve in future.

About the speaker: Professor Jamie Trinidad KC

Professor Jamie Trinidad KC was elected as a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge in 2013. He serves as Director of Studies in Law at the college, and is also a Fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge. He was called to the Bars of England and Wales (Lincoln’s Inn, 2001) and Gibraltar (2005), and was appointed King’s Counsel by the Governor of Gibraltar in 2023. Since joining Isolas LLP in 2004, he has worked in the fields of international, constitutional and regulatory law.
He represents and advises governments, corporations and NGOs around the world, and has been the Gibraltar Government’s principal advisor on international law for over a decade. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and is the author or editor of four books and many articles on questions of decolonisation, self-determination, territorial disputes, the practices of international courts, and other issues. In 2023, Prof. Trinidad was appointed as a Beacon Professor at the University of Gibraltar.
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