Cancelled International Law of the Sea

Course content

A sound marine environment provides the foundation for all life. Thus rules of international law governing the oceans are of central importance in the international community. The law is also crucial for Denmark that has important maritime industry.
Furthermore, the course of the law of the sea will be useful when studying other related fields of law, such as international environmental law, climate change law and energy/natural resource law, since this course will also deal with contemporary issues regarding, inter alia, marine natural resources, including biological diversity, and impacts of climate change on the oceans.
This course seeks to introduce students the comprehensive legal frameworks of International Law of the Sea.


The course is divided into two parts.


The first part, ‘Divided Ocean’, deals with:
(i) principles and development of the law of the sea,
(ii) baseline and related issues,
(iii) marine spaces under the territorial sovereignty (internal waters, territorial sea, international straits, and the archipelagic waters),
(iv) marine spaces under the sovereign rights (the contiguouszone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf),
(v) marine spaces beyond national jurisdiction (the high seas and the Area), and
(vi) maritime delimitation.


The second part of this course, ‘Our Common Ocean’, addresses:
(i) conservation of marine living resources,
(ii) marine environmental protection,
(iii) conservation of marine biological diversity,
(iv) marine scientific research,
(v) maintenance of international peace and security and
(vi) peaceful settlement of international disptues at sea.


This course builds on knowledge particularly in the bachelor coruse of public international law. As this is a MA course, the students are required to critically analyse the above issues. While there is no requirement for students to complete other MA courses, a basic knowledge of public international law will be helpful to follow the course. In addition, this course is particularly relevant for students who wish to work in maritime industry in the future. This course is given in English.

Learning outcome


On successful completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate a specialised academic knowledge concerning legal frameworks governing each jurisdictional zone in the oceans. Also the students will be able to have a legal understanding with respect to use of the oceans in international law of the sea.



The students will be able to critically analyse legal issues by examining customary rules and relevant treaties in the law of the sea. They will also be able to identify and critically examine relevant cases of international courts and tribunals.



The students will be able to identify and advise a relevant approach to address new issues of the law of the sea in English. In this regard, it is important to strike a sound balance between competing principles and interests of States.


Through this course, the students will be able to explore a legal framework that reconciles competing interests.

The lecture is given on the basis of the actual or hypothetical cases and questions. In the class, the students will be required to discuss suggested cases and questions in a small group. Furthermore, as part of group activity, the students will be required to participate in a ‘moot negotiation’. ‘Moot negotiation’ aims to facilitate class participation of the students. In ‘moot negotiation’, students discuss hypothetical scenario (question). The students will be divided into, for instance, three groups and they present/defend their legal position as a hypothetical member of national delegation in an international conference or negotiation table.

Recommended literature:
Y. Tanaka, The International Law of the Sea, 3rd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2019), 557 p. This is a textbook for the course.


Furthermore, students are required to refer to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is some 144 pages in electronic text (excluding Annexes).
In addition, relevant articles, cases, treaties and other documents are to be suggested in a timely manner within the scope of 750 pages in total.

Good command of English is recommendable.

Related subjects (any related courses or related subject areas): Public International Law, International Environmental Law, International Energy Law


Self-evaluation on the basis of quizzes or a mini-test. As a plan, students will be given a short written test or quizzes in the class. They exchange their answer and evaluate each other. Subsequently I will explain correct answer and provide the students suggestions to achieve learning objectives.

Type of assessment
Written assignment, 3 days
Assigned written individual assignment, 3 days
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • English
  • 412,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

  1. Students enrolled at Faculty of Law or holding a pre-approval: No tuition fee
  2. Professionals: Please visit our website  
Please see schedule for teaching time
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Yoshifumi Tanaka   (16-7b71756a6b68776f6b30766370636d63426c7774306d7730666d)
Saved on the 18-06-2021

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