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Law of the Sea - JURD7586
 Law Books

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: Academic Program JD (9150) Co: JURD7211
Excluded: LAWS8086
Fee Band: 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


The Law of the Sea is that body of international law which regulates the activities of States in their international relations concerning maritime matters. It is one of the most dynamic and important areas of international law, and is of particular importance to Australia, which possesses one of the largest maritime areas on earth. This course aims to examine the current legal regime governing ocean uses. The course will examine the major maritime zones recognised in international law and the rules relating to the various uses of the seas including fishing, shipping and navigation, scientific research and mining. It will examine the way in which disputes over conflicting uses of the seas arise and the manner in which they are handled and will look at the interrelationship between the public international law of the sea and municipal law with particular reference to matters of importance to Australia.

This course is also available to students undertaking relevant postgraduate non-law degree programs at UNSW, provided such enrolment is approved by the appropriate non-law Faculty.

LLM Specialisation

International Law

Recommended Prior Knowledge

None, but LAWS8180 Principles of International Law or equivalent is a recommended pre- or co-requisite.

Course Objectives

The objective is to provide students with a broad but thorough knowledge of the law of the sea with particular focus on understanding the nature and ramifications of the various regimes established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its implementing agreements. The specific aims of this course are:
  • To examine and analyse the main legal concepts and principles of the international legal regime governing the use of the oceans, the sea-bed and the subsoil thereof
  • To assist students to develop an understanding of the issues involved in the regulation and sustainable use of ocean spaces, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction
  • To develop an awareness of the different methods of the law of the sea as compared to national law in such matters as formulation and enforcement of the law and dispute resolution
  • To assist students to develop advanced research skills in the law of the sea
  • To assist students to recognise international law of the sea problems in their subsequent careers and to point them in the direction of ways of resolving them

Main Topics

1. The History of the Law of the Sea

2. Defining and Regulating Ocean Spaces
  • Baselines and Internal Waters
  • The Territorial Sea
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone
  • The High Seas
  • The International Sea Bed Area
3. Maritime Boundary Delimitation

4. Regulating Ocean Spaces
  • Nationality of Ships
  • Proscribed Activities
  • Navigation
  • Fishing
  • Protection of the Marine Environment
  • Marine Scientific Research


Class participation and presentation Preparation and engagement in class 20%
Delimitation negotiation exercise 15%
Research essay 5,000 - 6,000 words 65%

Course Texts

  • Churchill and Lowe, The Law of the Sea (3rd), Manchester University Press (1999)
  • The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its implementing agreements of 1994 and 1995

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.