LAWS364-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

Law of the Sea

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


An examination of the principal instruments relating to the law of the sea with particular focus on modern ocean management techniques and current regulatory challenges such as maritime security and marine environmental protection. This course is offered in alternate years.

The oceans comprise seventy percent of our planet and provides significant food, energy, mineral,
transport and other resources. Moreover, the oceans play a fundamental role in regulating our climate and underpin the survival of all species. New Zealand exercises jurisdiction over 5.7 million square kilometres of ocean and seabed (21 times the size of terrestrial New Zealand) and it is estimated that over 80 percent of New Zealand's biodiversity is located in the marine environment. The value of New Zealand's marine resources is believed to exceed those of it terrestrial resources.

This course will provide an introduction to the law of the sea as codified by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The modern law of the sea seeks to manage all aspects of the oceans use (and abuse) as well as providing for mechanisms whereby zones and jurisdictional limits are established. Students will begin by examining the various maritime zones (and their appropriate resource management and jurisdictional regimes as well as issues of delimitation) before going on to focus on issues such as sustainable fishing, marine environmental protection and maritime security. Contemporary challenges to the law of the sea will be explored including climate change, ocean acidification and managing genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), a topic subject to on-going negotiations in the UN. In the final session a brief outline of New Zealand's approach to managing the marine environment will be outlined, including an overview of Maori perspectives of ocean resources.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be expected to gain a solid basic knowledge of the relevant legal framework as well as developing their capacity to critically analyse issues and developments in this field. This course will be of interest to students wanting to know more about the law of the sea and its impact on resource management, environmental protection and security, and those with a desire to broaden their knowledge of international law.

    Students will:
  • Demonstrate a basic and systematic understanding of the elementary principles, processes and institutions of the law of the sea as well as reflect on the nature of legal 'knowledge' and 'norms' in a maritime context;
  • Critically analyse and evaluate the law of the sea within a social, political and theoretical context including the principles and values of justice within the system;
  • Relate their knowledge to current matters of international concern;
  • Demonstrate a basic and systematic understanding of the elementary principle of New Zealand's implementation of the law of the sea within its domestic legal system;
  • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the theory and practice of the law of the sea through a critical evaluation of primary materials and relevant scholarship in the field;
  • Identify and articulate legal issues;
  • Apply legal reasoning and research to generate appropriate responses to legal issues;
  • Engage in critical analysis and make a reasoned choice amongst alternatives;
  • Think creatively in approaching legal uses and generating appropriate responses;
  • Develop an ability to exercise a professional judgement;
  • Demonstrate intellectual and practical skills needed to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues;
  • Communicate in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for legal audiences;
  • Learn and work independently;
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the application of tikanga and Treaty of Waitangi principles to New Zealand's domestic implementation of the law of the sea;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the processes of colonisation and globalisation of Maori rights and obligations with respect to marine resources;
  • Demonstrate an ability to engage critically and effectively in global and multicultural contexts across the discipline of the law of the sea.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


LAWS362 prior to 2010, ILAP630


Timetable 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 10:00 - 12:00 Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre
19 Jul - 29 Aug
13 Sep - 24 Oct

Timetable Note

Teaching will be by lecture or seminar depending on course numbers. Where teaching is seminar based, students will be expected to participate in class discussion and on occasion, present to their peers.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Karen Scott


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Essay 13 Sep 2021 50%
Final Exam 50%

This course is assessed by means of one 4000 word research essay and one final examination.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

A. Proelss; United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: a Commentary;

Rothwell and Stephens; The International Law of the Sea;

Yoshifumi Tanaka; The International Law of the Sea;

Nordquist has edited a definitive commentary on the 1982 UNCLOS and the six volume set is available in the Law collection in the Central Library.
Students should note that materials related to the law of the sea (such as Ocean Yearbook) are also located in the Central Library in the Geography section.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $831.00

International fee $4,200.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Law.

All LAWS364 Occurrences

  • LAWS364-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021