The Foundation

The Tribunal is the central forum available – to States, to certain international organizations, and even to some corporations – for resolving disputes about how the Convention should be interpreted and applied.

Kofi Annan

His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan (official ceremony to mark the opening of the permanent headquarters of ITLOS in Hamburg, 3 July 2000)

The presence in Hamburg of the judges of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea constitutes an outstanding concentration of maritime law expertise of global significance. This is enhanced by Hamburg’s traditional role as a renowned centre of economic, scientific and technical expertise in maritime matters.

The Principal Tasks

The Hamburg International Foundation for the Law of the Sea aims to see to it that opportunities that arise in exploiting this potential are further developed and increasingly seized in the interests of universal application. This also involves drawing public attention to the vital work of the Tribunal and the unique competence of its judges in the application and interpretation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Under its Statute, the principal tasks of the Foundation will include:

  • the promotion of research and teaching in the field of international maritime law; interpretation of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant agreements as well as the continued scientific development of international maritime law;
  • furthering the dialogue between the academic world, the judges of the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and those working in the maritime economy; exchange of views and information on the practical consequences of international law regulation;
  • the promotion of knowledge of law of the sea in less developed States; contributing to the development of their competence with regard to exercising rights and complying with obligations under the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In addition the Foundation intends

  • to further publicise the opportunities afforded by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for the peaceful settlement of disputes and to facilitate access to proceedings before the Tribunal for developing countries in particular;
  • to provide scholarships and to train interns – particularly from developing countries. The provision of scholarships and support for interns will be carried out in accordance with the Foundation’s own guidelines.

The Foundation will be backed by representatives of trade and industry, the academic world and public institutions, with the support of the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Foundation is a non-profit institution. Its assets consist of contributions from donors and patrons. Donations may be used either exclusively and directly for the purposes for which the Foundation was set up or made as contributions for specific tasks.