The jurisdiction of the Tribunal comprises all disputes and all applications submitted to it in accordance with the Convention. It also includes all matters specifically provided for in any other agreement which confers jurisdiction on the Tribunal (Statute, article 21). The Tribunal has jurisdiction to deal with disputes (contentious jurisdiction) and legal questions (advisory jurisdiction) submitted to it.

Contentious jurisdiction

The Tribunal has jurisdiction over all disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention, subject to the provisions of article 297 and to the declarations made in accordance with article 298 of the Convention.

Article 297 and declarations made under article 298 of the Convention do not prevent parties from agreeing to submit to the Tribunal a dispute otherwise excluded from the Tribunal's jurisdiction under these provisions (Convention, article 299).

The Tribunal also has jurisdiction over all disputes and all applications submitted to it pursuant to the provisions of any other agreement conferring jurisdiction on the Tribunal. A number of multilateral agreements conferring jurisdiction on the Tribunal have been concluded to date.

Advisory jurisdiction

The Seabed Disputes Chamber is competent to give an advisory opinion on legal questions arising within the scope of the activities of the Assembly or Council of the International Seabed Authority (article 191 of the Convention).

The Tribunal may also give an advisory opinion on a legal question if this is provided for by "an international agreement related to the purposes of the Convention" (Rules of the Tribunal, article 138).