Impact beyond borders

The geopolitics of international borders is often a controversial subject of debate, particularly in the ex-colonial world, as regions struggle over the legacy of vague and ambiguous boundary delimitations. In many cases, the historical documents that provide the evidence in defining borders need careful interpretation and contextualisation.

Dr Richard SchofieldResearch undertaken by Dr Richard Schofield had an instrumental impact on the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA’s) 2008-9 settlement of a unique and challenging territorial dispute in central Sudan – and its attempt to define the Abyei province.

The PCA’s Final Award of 22 July 2009 explicitly relied on Schofield’s research-based evidence and testimony in court to interpret the boundary evolution process in its proper regional and historical context.

Schofield specialises in researching original historical documents in collecting evidence on historical boundary delimitation questions. He has advised in the settlement of many boundary disputes, including:

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  • Jordan and Israel
  • Yemen and Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain and Qatar
  • Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago

The London International Boundary Conference, inaugurated in April 2013, is a major international forum dedicated to furthering multidisciplinary approaches to complex territorial and boundary disputes. Co-founded by King’s Geography (Schofield), Volterra Fietta and the UK Law of the Sea Division (Hydrographic Institute), the London International Boundary Conference reconvened at the RGS in December 2015 and has been described as ‘innovative and timely’ by FCO Legal Advisor Iain Macleod. Find out when the next conference will take place by visiting: London International Boundary Conference