This encyclopedia entry describes and analyzes the North Sea Continental Shelf Cases, a 1969 judgment of the International Court of Justice regarding the international law principles applicable to delimitation of the North Sea continental shelf between three adjacent States. The Court held coastal States have an inherent right to the area of the continental shelf that constitutes the natural prolongation of their land territory and States should delimit the shelf by agreement in accordance with equitable principles, aiming to avoid encroachment on the natural prolongation of other States’ territories.