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United Kingdom: Borders

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government where are the United Kingdom's air, land and sea borders; whether those borders are recognised in international law; and whether they are codified in domestic law. [HL681]

The UK has only one land boundary, namely the one in Northern Ireland between the UK and Ireland. The status of Northern Ireland is regulated in the Belfast agreement of 1998, and the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

The UK's sea borders are denoted by the limit of the territorial sea, a maximum of 12 nautical miles from the coastline, as set out in the Territorial Sea Act 1987. The territorial sea was established in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The UK's air borders are determined under the Chicago Convention on international civil aviation of 1944, which provides that the UK has sovereignty over the airspace above its territory, including its territorial sea.