International Resources Law

Subject LAWS70395 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

The importance of international resources, such as fossil fuels (oil and gas) and metals in the ocean floor and polar regions or the geostationary orbit for satellites, has progressively increased over the past 30 years due to increasing globalisation. New technologies, increased need for new resources, climate change and exotic tourism, driven by a tripling of the global economy over the next 30 years, mean that their importance will increase dramatically. Management of these increasingly valuable resources is a rapidly developing area of international law that will affect many different areas of commerce and the law. This subject provides a unique opportunity to learn about this rapidly developing area of the law from two international lawyers with practical experience in the field.

Principal topics include:

  • What are international areas, their importance and future trends in their use?
  • The historical development of regulations governing the use of international areas and their resources, such as fishing, oil and gas extraction and access to orbits
  • Law governing major international areas and their natural resources, including:
    • High seas
    • Deep seabed
    • Antarctica
    • Outer space
  • Current issues and developments, in particular:
    • Management of resources in the deep seabed, continental shelves, polar regions and celestial bodies
    • The right to protest at sea in connection with the use of natural resources
    • Equitable access to outer space orbits, especially geostationary orbits
    • Challenges of tourism in the deep sea, outer space and Antarctica
    • Environmental impacts of human activities (polar melting; space debris; ocean fertilisation; marine pollution and dumping)
    • New and emerging uses of these areas (eg use of genetic resources of the deep seabed and Antarctica).
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the importance of international areas and the types of human activities, including commercial activities, that are undertaken in these places
  • Understand the concepts and principles of the international law and policy that govern human activities in these areas
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the international case law and policy arising from the use of these areas and their natural resources
  • Understand the limitations of international law in regulating human activities in these areas
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such equity, sustainable development, common concern of human kind, common heritage of humankind, environmental impact assessment and benefit sharing
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving the evolution of the international law and policy governing the use of international resources
  • Have an advanced understanding of situations in which issues of equality and sustainable management of international resources may arise
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating the use and management of international resources, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to the use and management of international resources
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding the use and management of international resources to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of International Resources Law.
  • Class presentation (10%)
  • 8,000 word research paper (90%) (30 September) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator
Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Energy and Resources Law
Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Energy and Resources Law
Master of Environmental Law
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Tailored Specialisation

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