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The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea convened for its first session at its seat in Hamburg on 1 October, 1996. Its ceremonial inauguration took place at the City Hall of Hamburg on 18 October, 1996. Thus began the life of a new international institution which was conceived at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea and whose constitution is found in the product of that Conference.;This book describes the Tribunal, including its structure and working methods, as set out in the Convention itself and in the three documents which the Tribunal adopted at the end of its organizational phase: the Rules of the Tribunal; the Guidelines concerning the Preparation and Presentation of Cases before the Tribunal; and the Resolution on the Internal Judicial Practice of the Tribunal. The book further describes the work of the Tribunal during the first three and a half years of its existence, including the five cases it decided upon during this period.;The author was among the Tribunal's first Judges and shared with them the opportunity to give the final form to a new body for the settlement of international disputes, to establish its working methods and then help guide it through its first steps. This book should be a useful tool for anyone who is interested in the work of the Tribunal, both practitioners and academics.