spring 2024
JUR-3053 Law of the Sea and the Arctic - 15 ECTS

Type of course

Master level students

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 Protection of the Marine Environment by International Law.

The course is given during spring term.

Admission requirements

Only students admitted to the Master of Laws program in Law of the Sea may register for the exam for this course.

Obligatory prerequisites: JUR-3050 General Law of the Sea, JUR-3054 General Law of the Sea II

Obligatory prerequisites

JUR-3050 General Law of the Sea, JUR-3054 General Law of the Sea II

Course content

The course is essentially a case study of the three previous courses, referred to above.

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.

Objectives of the course


Having passed the exam, the student shall have acquired:

  • Advanced knowledge on the application of the regulations of law of the sea on entitlements to maritime zones to the Arctic Oceans and its seas;
  • Advanced knowledge on the application of the legal regime under law of the sea and international law for the protection of the marine environment and conservation of living marine resources to the Arctic; including the role of relevant international bodies (e.g. IMO, Arctic Council and NEAFC);
  • Advanced knowledge on the existing and potential jurisdictional disputes between Arctic states and between Arctic coastal states following increased use of the marine areas (e.g. shipping, fishing and petroleum activities) and their possible resolution;
  • Advanced knowledge on the adequacy of existing legal framework for sustainable use of the Arctic Ocean and its resources and on strategies for strengthening of and other development of the framework;
  • Advanced knowledge on the Svalbard Treaty and its implications for the legal status of the waters off the archipelago;
  • Knowledge on Arctic indigenous peoples and their rights under international human rights to access and use maritime waters and their natural resources

Skills and general qualifications:

Having passed the exam, the student will:

  • Be able to identify and analyse questions of theoretical and practical character related to the marine Arctic and apply the knowledge acquired during the previous to address them
  • Be able to independently and critically apply the relevant sources of law
  • Be able to identify the limitations of existing law
  • Be able to use English terminology with this field of law

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminars, and excursions comprising a total of 30 hours. Guest lectures of relevant natural science topics and international law may be given. The students are expected to be prepared and active during the seminars in discussions of the prescribed material. They may also be asked to prepare papers and give presentations during the seminars. Students are expected to study independently in periods when there are no lectures or seminars.



Examination: Date: Weighting: Duration: Grade scale:
Off campus exam 13.05.2024 09:00 (Hand out)
16.05.2024 15:00 (Hand in)
0/1 5 Days A–E, fail F
Oral exam 03.06.2024 09:00
1/1 A–E, fail F
UiT Exams homepage

Re-sit examination

Students who fail their examination are entitled to re-sit the exam.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 15
  • Course code: JUR-3053
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet