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LAWS6169 Selected Principles of the International Law of the Sea

Module Overview

The International Law of the Sea is a specialist topic within public international law concerning the control and use of the sea. It has a long history in customary international law, though in more recent times much of it has been codified in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and related treaties. This module provides the important knowledge and understanding of the non-navigational rights and duties of coastal States and other States in each of the maritime zones in the law of the sea, along with an in depth exposition of the political, economic and military reasons underlying the present rules in UNCLOS. It examines the challenges from the changing uses of the sea and the sorts of adaptive rules that might in future be needed, as well as the dispute settlement system of UNCLOS and its variants in related treaties. In placing its main focus on the zonal divisions of the world’s oceans (exclusive economic zone, high seas, continental shelf, etc), the module considers moreover key thematic/sectoral issues in the law of the sea over the last half century, e.g., fisheries, deep seabed mining and dispute settlement.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • * the non-navigational rights and duties of coastal States and other States in each of the maritime zones in the law of the sea;
  • * the political, economic and military reasons underlying the present rules in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
  • * the challenges from the changing uses of the sea and the sorts of adaptive rules that might in future be needed;
  • * the dispute settlement system of UNCLOS and its variants in related treaties.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • * isolate and analyse the international legal issues in factual problems of non-navigational uses of the ocean and their regulation;
  • * describe the varying and overlapping interests of prominent States in the non-navigational uses of the sea and trace their impact on the law as it has developed;
  • * evaluate the effect the legal rules are having on the underlying policy problems, and vice versa;
  • * suggest ways in which the law needs to be developed in order to solve those problems.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • *distinguish relevant from irrelevant materials;
  • *identify and analyse key issues;
  • *think critically, develop coherent arguments in writing;
  • *display clarity and objectivity in written discussion demonstrating an awareness of issue of academic integrity.

Syllabus

The International Law of the Sea is a specialist topic within public international law concerning the control and use of the sea. It has a long history in customary international law, though in more recent times much of it has been codified in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and related treaties. Prior familiarity with the basic principles of international law is therefore assumed in this module, which provides a useful background to maritime law more broadly and to international marine policy. Most of the module is devoted to a consideration of the rules, history and rationale of the maritime zones known to the modern law of the sea, starting closest to land where the international element is smallest (internal waters) and observing the increasing growth and complexity of that element as we move progressively seaward (territorial sea, archipelagic waters, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, high seas, seabed area beyond national jurisdiction), and how the boundary lines separating these are drawn. Finally, we look thematically at both fisheries and the dispute settlement system in Part XV of the Convention, which as we will see also indirectly fulfils a substantive function.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is taught through seminars (10 x 2hours) which will combine lecture-style and interactive tutorial-style teaching. You are expected to prepare for the seminars by completing allocated reading or any other task. The most important part of learning is your own independent study. This will, however, be closely guided, and firmly tied into the lectures, seminars and assessment. In the seminars you will have the opportunity to present arguments orally to a group of peers and defend your position under challenge.

TypeHours
Independent Study130
Blended Learning20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

L.B. Sohn et al (2014). Cases and Materials on the Law of the Sea. 

M. Evans (ed), Blackstone’s International Law Documents (Oxford: Oxford University Press). A good source of Law of the Sea and general international law treaty texts for those who prefer to have this in hard copy, although all cases and international instruments are available using the legal databases. You need not necessarily have the latest edition; a reasonably recent one will do.

Y. Tanaka (2019). The International Law of the Sea . 

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Textbooks

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/ additional reading text as appropriate

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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