Law of the Sea and the Arctic

The course is part of the Master of Laws programme in Law of the Sea and builds on JUR-3050 General Law of the Sea, JUR-3054 General Law of the Sea II and JUR-3052 Law of the Sea and Biodiversity.


The course is essentially a case study of the three abovementioned courses, focusing on the maritime zones in the Arctic, maritime delimitation, the establishment of outer limits of the continental shelf and the legal regimes in these maritime zones.

The course covers the following topics:

  • The various maritime zones in the Arctic, their legal regimes and their consistency with international law;


  • Disputes baselines, claims to historic title over marine areas, unresolved maritime boundaries and the state of play on the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf;


  • Other Arctic-specific disputes, such as the spatial scope of application of the Spitsbergen Treaty and the applicability of Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) to marine areas off Canada and the Russian Federation in light of the regime of transit passage through straits used for international navigation;

  • The existing international legal regime for the governance and regulation of the marine Arctic for specific sectors (e.g. navigation, marine capture fisheries and offshore hydrocarbon activities) and the mandate and output of international bodies in this regard (e.g. the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements (RFMOs/As), the OSPAR Commission and the Arctic Council);


  • The adequacy of the current international legal regime for the governance and regulation of the marine Arctic in light of climate change and the increased human activity which it enables or could enable. In case the regime is determined to be inadequate, analyses will be made to determine which adjustments could be made in order to
    • prevent, reduce and control marine pollution;
    • ensure sustainable utilisation of marine living resources;
    • protect and preserve marine biodiversity;
    • deliver ecosystem-based oceans governance;
    • safeguard the rights and interests of Arctic indigenous peoples;

For each of these cases, separate attention will be devoted to

    • The potential role and responsibility of different states and entities (Arctic and non-Arctic) in their capacities as coastal, flag or port states?;
    • The potential role of existing international bodies to deliver such adjustments;
    • The need to establish new regional bodies.

Course details

Academic level(s)Master
Language of instruction
InstitutionUiT The Arctic University of Norway
Begin date-
End date-
Registration deadline-
ECTS credits15.0
Field schoolNo
Fields of studyLaw (broad programmes)
Teaching placeUniversity of Tromsø, Norway
Tagsarcticlawmaritime zonescase studiesmaritime delimitationlegal regimes
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