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The University of Southampton

SOES6056 International Maritime and Environmental Law

Module Overview

This module introduces you to the concepts, legal frameworks and policies concerned with the international law of the sea.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1. To introduce students to the concepts of the international law of the sea. 2. To introduce the legal framework for the management of the seas. 3. To introduce the main international law and policy making institutions. 4. To introduce the students to the legal analysis of international legal instruments. 5. To introduce students to the major international Conventions determining the governance and management of the sea and the global environment.

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Basic analysis of legal texts;
  • legal report writing at a basic level.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Time management,
  • critical analysis of research literature,
  • project management,
  • presentation skills
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the source and the significance of various treaties.
  • Understand, at a basic level, the process and basic structure of various treaties.
  • Describe at an intermediate level the division of rights and responsibilities in respect of the marine areas.
  • Understand and describe at a basic level the major arrangements for delimitation of the continental shelf.
  • Understand and describe at a basic level the legal framework for fisheries management.
  • Understand and describe at an intermediate level the legal framework for climate change.


- Seminar 1: What is international law? How does it differ from national law? How does it affect national law? Who makes it? Who is responsible for upholding it? Customary international law. - Seminars 2 and 3: The law of climate change. The Rio Convention and its Protocols. The Kyoto Protocol, emissions trading. What happens after the Kyoto Protocol? - Seminar 4: Law of Biodiversity - Seminars 5 and 6: The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. Who has rights on the oceans? Jurisdictional zones: The territorial sea, the continental shelf, the EEZ, the contiguous zone, the high seas. What types of rights exist in respect of navigation, marine research, exploitation of fisheries, exploitation of the sea bed. - Seminar 7: Protection of the marine environment. General provisions under the 1982 LOSC. - Seminar 8: Delimitation of the jurisdictional zones. Dispute resolution under the 1982 LOSC. - Seminar 9: Fisheries management. What are the problems? What does the 1982 LOSC provide? What other fisheries agreements and treaties exist? - Seminar 10: UK Marine Policy

Special Features

Co-ordinators: Professor Mikis Tsimplis (NOCS/Law) and Professor Andrew Serdy (Institute of Maritime Law)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

- Reading lists will be provided at the beginning of the course together with a set of materials that will be used. - Students are expected to study the relevant materials and the sources included in the reading list before the seminars. - 10 x 2 hour seminars will outline the issues concerned and will discuss in depth specific aspects of the issues under discussion. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study130
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Theory Examination (60%): A two- hour written examination will cover knowledge and problem-solving abilities. Coherent writing under examination conditions is tested by this method. All learning outcomes (1-6) are tested. Written assessment (40%): A written assessment of 4000 words maximum will be assigned at the end of lecture 8 and will have to be completed immediately after the Christmas break. Time management, presentation skills, research ability and legal writing are tested in this project. Learning outcomes 1-3 and the ability to research further in one of the learning outcomes 4-6. Non-assessed essay: Students will be asked to write a 1000-word essay on a selected topic in week 4. The purpose of the exercise is to help them develop a writing style appropriate for legal/policy reports. The mark of this essay will not count towards the final mark for the course.




MethodPercentage contribution
Theory examination  (2 hours) 60%
Written assignment  (4000 words) 40%
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