This paper explores the various issues related to identifying claimants that have a sufficient legal interest to bring a claim for damage arising out of activities in the area beyond national jurisdiction (standing) and whether such claimants have access to a dispute settlement forum to adjudicate such claims, be it an international court, tribunal or national courts (access). The paper argues that the major challenge in the context of deep seabed mining is that damage can impact both individual and collective interests of the international community, making the determination of which actor has standing a complex task.

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The Liability Issues for Deep Seabed Mining project was developed by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to assist in clarifying legal issues of responsibility and liability underpinning the development of exploitation regulations for the deep seabed. CIGI, in collaboration with the ISA Secretariat and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in 2017, invited leading legal experts to form the Legal Working Group on Liability for Environmental Harm from Activities in the Area (LWG) to discuss liability related to environmental damage, with the goal of providing the Legal and Technical Commission, as well as members of the ISA with an in-depth examination of potential legal issues and avenues.