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Name: Jacinth D.

Dela Cerna

Course & Year: JD-1

Section: M3


July 5, 2016

I. Statement of the Problem

The Principality of Sealand has been debated in the international community highlighting the
legality of its statehood. With regards to this issue, is the Principality of Sealand a state?
II. Facts
In the Second World War, the British government built fortresses against the German invaders,
among these fortresses is the fort Toughs Tower (now Sealand). It is located in the North Sea
approximately 7 nautical miles from the coast of Suffolk, England within the sovereign territory of England.
Since then, the applicable mile range of territorial waters was still 3 nautical miles, in compliance
with international law, fortresses should have been removed. However, this fort was not and was
eventually abandoned resulting to res derelicta (forsaken, abandoned) and terra nullius (nobodys land).
In 1967, a retired British Army major Roy Bates occupied the abandoned Roughs Tower declared
independence for the Principality of Sealand on September 2, 1967. Bates called himself Prince Roy and
named his wife Princess Joan, issued coins, passports, and stamps for their new country and created
their own constitution (though it still adheres to British common law). Sealand has a de facto international
recognition as an independent country.
III. Discussion
According to the Montevideo Convention, Article 1, The state as a person of international law
should possess the following qualifications: a permanent population; a defined territory; government; and
capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
First, a permanent population refers to the inhabitants of the state. Although there is no definite
requirement as to the number of inhabitants as long as it is enough to be self-sufficing and be able to
defend themselves. In the case of Sealand, as stated by Prince Micheal in an interview, (few people live
on Sealand) normally like two people. The only people that occupy Sealand are Joan, Micheal and his
daughter Penny. However, they maintain a dual citizenship with that of the United Kingdom. Thus, three
people are not enough to maintain workings of a government and not enough to maintain the security
against foreign invaders.
Second, a state must have a defined territory. Although there is no definite requirement of the size
of the territory, it must be neither too big as to be difficult to administer and defend nor too small as to be
unable to provide for the needs of the population. Based on the components of territory, Sealand lacks
two (terrestrial domain and maritime and fluvial domain). As stated in the UNCLOS states in Article 60,
Section 8, artificial islands are not sovereign because they do not affect the continental shelf, the
boundary lines of the sea, or the exclusive economic zone. The fortress too is located in the 12 nautical
miles territorial seas of the England, and based on the Archipelagic Doctrine, England is sovereign over
the territory.
Third, a state should have the presence of an effective government able to maintain peace and
order as well as provide adequate social services and security. In this case, Sealand can provide services
to its small population. However, a state must also be able to protect itself from foreign powers, with this
Sealand cannot assure the strength of its defenses therefore cannot promote the security of its territory.
Fourth, a state should be sovereign. Sovereignty may be internal and external. Though Sealand
has a de facto international effect as an independent country, in the eyes of international law, it avails to
nothing. Though Sealand has internal sovereignty among its domestic affairs, externally, no country has
yet recognized the legality of the Principality of Sealand.
IV. Conclusion
As discussed, the Principality of Sealand failed to achieve the essential elements of statehood
namely, a permanent population, a defined territory, government and sovereignty. It is evident to say that
the Principality of Sealand is, therefore, not a state.
V. Bibliography/Sources