spring 2019

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

Sist endret: 03.09.2019

The course is provided by

Faculty of Law


Tromsø |

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 Law of the Sea and Biodiversity.

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


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.


The course is assessed through a written home exam (5 days) and one oral exam.

The grading scale of A to F is applied, where F constitutes fail. Students who fail their examination are entitled to re-sit the examination, cf. regulations for examinations at the University of Tromsø Sec.22.

Date for examination

Take-home examination hand out date 07.05.2019 hand in date 10.05.2019

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Recommended reading/syllabus


- K.N. Scott and D.L. Vanderzwaag, "Polar Oceans and the Law of the Sea", in D.R. Rothwell, A.G. Oude Elferink, K.N. Scott and T. Stephens (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of The Law of the Sea, Oxford University Press 2015, pp. 724-751; 28 pages (in compendium)

- R. Rayfuse, "Melting Moments: The Future of Polar Oceans Governance in a Warming World" 16 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, 2007, pp. 196-216; 21 pages (Available online)

- E.J. Molenaar, A.G. Oude Elferink, D.R. Rothwell (eds), "Interactions between Global and Regional Regimes: Trends and Prospects", The Law of the Sea and Polar Regions: Interactions between Global and Regional Regimes, (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers), pp. 389-417; 29 pages (in compendium)


Maritime zones

- R.R. Churchill, "Claims to Maritime Zones in the Arctic - Law of the Sea Normality or Polar Peculiarity", in: Oude Elferink and Rothwell, 2001, pp. 105-124; 20 pages (In compendium)

- T. Henriksen and G. Ulfstein, "Maritime Delimitation in the Arctic: The Barents Sea Treaty", 42 Ocean Development & International Law, 2011, pp. 1-21; 21 pages (Available online)

- A.G. Oude Elferink, "The Continental Shelf in the Polar Regions: Cold War or Black-Letter Law", 40 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, 2009, pp. 121-181; 62 pages (Available online)

- A.G. Oude Elferink, "The Delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean: Recent Developments, Applicable Law and Possible Outcomes" in: M.H. Nordquist, J.N. Moore and R. Long (eds), Challenges of the Changing Arctic, Brill Nijhoff 2016, pp. 53-80; 28 pages (in compendium)


Environmental protection

- D.R. Rothwell, "Global environmental protection instruments and the polar marine environment", in D. Vidas (ed.), Protecting the Polar Marine Environment. Law and Policy for Pollution Prevention, (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000), pp. 57-77; 21 pages (In compendium)

- R. Rayfuse, "Protecting Marine Biodiversity in Polar Areas beyond National Jurisdiction", 17 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, 2008, pp 3-13; 11 pages (Available online)

- I.U. Jakobsen, "Extractive Industries in Arctic: The International Legal Framework for the Protection of the Environment" in Nordic Environmental Law Journal 2014 1, pp 39-52; 14 pages (Available online)

 - I.U. Jakobsen, “MPAS under the Arctic Council”, in I.U. Jakobsen, Marine Protected Areas in International Law, Queen Mary Studies in International Law, 2016, pp. 233-243; 10 pages (available online).

Arctic shipping

- D. McRae, "The Negotiation of Article 234", in F. Griffiths (ed.) Politics of the Northwest Passage (Kingston and Montreal, McGill-Queen¿s University Press: 1987), pp. 98-114; 17 pages (In compendium)

- T. McDorman “A Note on the Potential Conflicting Treaty Rights and Obligations between the IMO’s Polar Code and Article 234 of the Law of the Sea Convention” International Law and Politics of the Arctic Ocean, 2015, pp. 141-159; 18 pages (available online).

- K. Bartenstein, “The “Arctic Exception” in the Law of the Sea Convention: A Contribution to Safer Navigation in the Northwest Passage?, Ocean Development & International Law, 2011, pp. 22-52; 30 pages (available online).

- J.J. Solski, "Russia" in R. Beckman, T. Henriksen, E.J. Molenaar, K. Dalaker Kraabel and J.A. Roach (eds), Governance of Arctic Shipping - Balancing Rights and Interests of Arctic States and User States, Brill/Nijhoff, pp. 173-216, 43 pages (Available online)

- Chircop, "The Growth of International Shipping in the Arctic: Is a Regulatory Review Timely?", 24 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 2009, pp. 355-380; 26 pages (Available online)

- T. Henriksen, “Protecting polar environments: coherency in regulating Arctic shipping” in R. Rayfuse (ed.), Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law, Edward Elgar, 2015, pp. 363-384; 21 pages (available online).

Arctic fisheries

- E.J. Molenaar, “Participation in the Central Arctic Ocean Fisheries Agreement”, in A. Shibata et al (eds) Emerging Legal Orders in the Arctic: The Role of Non-Arctic Actors (Routledge: forthcoming in 2019); 37 pages (in compendium).

- I. Dahl, “Maritime Delimitation in the Arctic: Implications for Fisheries Jurisdiction and Cooperation in the Barents Sea”, The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 30, 2015, pp. 120-147; 20 pages (available online).



- G. Ulfstein, "Spitsbergen/Svalbard" in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, R. Wolfrum (ed.), Oxford University Press, 2008; 13 pages (http://opil.ouplaw.com/view/10.1093/law:epil/9780199231690/law-9780199231690-e1356)

- D. Anderson, "The Status under International Law of the Maritime Areas around Svalbard", 40 Ocean Development & International Law, 2009, pp. 373-384; 12 pages (Available online)

- C.A. Fleischer, The New International Law of the Sea and Svalbard, paper presented at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters 150th Anniversary Symposium, January 25, 2007; 15 pages (http://www.dnva.no/binfil/download.php?tid=27095)

- T. Pedersen and T. Henriksen, "Svalbard¿s Maritime Zones: The End of Legal Uncertainty?", 24 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 2009, pp. 141-161; 22 pages (Available online)

- E.J. Molenaar, "Fisheries Regulation in the Maritime Zones of Svalbard", 27 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2012) pp. 3-58, 56 pages (Available online)


Arctic Council

- E.T. Bloom, "Establishment of the Arctic Council", 93 American Journal of International Law, 1999, pp. 712-722; 11 pages (Available online)

- E.J. Molenaar, "Current and Prospective Roles of the Arctic Council System within the Context of the Law of the Sea", 27 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2012) pp. 553-595, 43 pages (Available online)

- E.J. Molenaar, “The Arctic, the Arctic Council, and the Law of the Sea” in R. Beckman, T. Henriksen, K. Dalaker Kraabel, E.J. Molenaar and J.A. Roach (eds) Governance of Arctic Shipping. Balancing Rights and Interests of Arctic States and User States (Brill/Nijhoff: 2017), pp. 24-67, 43 pages (available online).


Reform of the Arctic Regime

- T. Koivurova, "Alternatives for an Arctic Treaty - Evaluation and a New Proposal", 17 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, 2008, pp. 14-26; 13 pages (Available online)

- O.S. Stokke, "Protecting the Arctic Environment: The Interplay of Global and Regional Regimes", 1 Yearbook of Polar Law, 2009, pp. 349-371; 23 pages (In compendium)

- O.R. Young, "If an Arctic Ocean Treaty is Not the Solution, What is the Alternative?", 47 Polar Record, 2011, pp. 327-334;18 pages (Available online)

- B. Baker and B. Yeager, “Coordinated Ocean Stewardship in the Arctic: Needs, Challenges and Possible Models for an Arctic Ocean Coordinating Agreement”, Transnational Environmental Law, 4:2, 2015, pp. 359-394; 35 pages (available online). 

Arctic indigenous peoples

- Eide, "Indigenous Self-Government in the Arctic and their Right to Land and Natural Resources", 1 Yearbook of Polar Law, 2009, pp. 245-281; 37 pages (In compendium)


Total 818 pages.


Supplementary/optional reading:

- Schönfeldt, Kristina, The Arctic in International Law and Policy, Hart publishing, 2018 (available online)