Law of the Sea

Subject LAWS40078 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two hours of lectures per week.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours.

Prerequisites: International Law.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

This subject considers the structure and content of the international law of the sea. It will chart the development of the law of the sea within public international law, and examine the manner in which jurisdiction is determined over shipping and ocean areas, as well as issues such as freedom of navigation, maritime boundary delimitation, resource exploitation and environmental management of the oceans. It will also examine the emerging challenges posed by the changing international security environment for international shipping and resource protection.

The subject will cover the following areas:

  • The development of the Law of the Sea;
  • Maritime Zones;
  • Regime of the High Seas and Deep Seabed;
  • Resource Exploitation;
  • Navigation;
  • Maritime Jurisdiction;
  • Maritime Boundary Delimitation;
  • Environmental Protection;
  • Maritime Security;
  • Dispute Resolution under the Law of the Sea Convention;
  • Domestic Implementation.

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Understand the international law of the sea;
  • Have a knowledge of the different international instruments governing law of the sea at the international level;
  • Understand the structure of the Law of the Sea Convention and nature and purpose of the maritime zones of jurisdiction created within the Convention;
  • Understand the principles of maritime boundary delimitation;
  • Understand the implications and content of the new maritime security framework;
  • Understand the principles of dispute resolution under Part XV of the Law of the Sea Convention;
  • Understand the application of the law of the sea in Australia and its application under Australian domestic law;
  • Be able to communicate in writing their understanding of the law of the sea;
  • Be able to think critically about the law of the sea.
  • 2,000 word essay, (essay topics/cases will be listed in the Reading Guide) due week 7 of semester 2 (worth 30% of the final mark in the subject); AND
  • Final written examination two hours (worth 70% of the final mark in the subject). The written examination will be open-book. Duration 30 minutes reading time and 2 hours writing time.
Prescribed Texts: Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

A candidate should develop the following skills in this course:

  • Critical thinking and analytical skills;
  • Openness to new ideas;
  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Capacities in information seeking, evaluation and retrieval, in particular the use of online resources of international institutions and the Australian government;
  • Communication skills, oral and written.

In addition, on completion of this subject students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • Case reading and analysis, including an ability to:

    - Extract important features from judgments;
    - Reconcile judgments;
    - Evaluate the development of legal principles;
    - Apply legal principles arising from case law to new situations.
  • Statutory reading, interpretation and analysis, including an ability to:

    - Extract important features from statutes and treaties;
    - Evaluate the development of statutory rules;
    - Use, interpret and apply statutory and treaty provisions to new situations.
  • Hypothetical problem solving, including an ability to:

    - Identify legal issues arising in complex fact situations;
    - Identify and apply relevant legal principles; and
    - Provide advice as to the rights and obligations of the parties.

Download PDF version.