France–United Kingdom

The maritime boundary between France and the United Kingdom was established by virtue of five bilateral agreements and two Court rulings that spanned a time frame of more than 30 years, from 1977 to 2011.

An arbitral tribunal was tasked with deciding the portion of the continental shelf boundary that extends west of the 0° 30′ W meridian. The Tribunal established the boundary by utilizing a modified version of equidistance. Successive bilateral agreements then defined and refined the eastern portion of the boundary based primarily on the equidistance methodology.

The last boundary agreement, signed in 2011, allowed for the continental shelf portions of the boundary to apply also to the exclusive economic zone. It also converted all the boundary turning points from the European Datum 1950 into the World Geodetic System 1984.

The boundary is essentially comprised of three components. The first is a continental shelf boundary in the east that starts at the tripoint with Belgium and proceeds 26 nautical miles (M), whereupon it then enters the Strait of Dover. Through the strait, the boundary divides the Parties’ territorial seas for a total distance of 34 M. The final boundary segment in the west is a continental shelf/exclusive economic zone boundary that extends for 472 M. In total, the boundary spans 532 M.

Map showing the maritime boundary between France and the UK

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