Faculty of Law

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Day)


This course provides a general introduction to the public international law of the sea with a focus on questions of maritime security, the international movement of shipping and environmental management. Maritime security, as studied in this course, encompasses such threats as terrorism, high seas piracy and the smuggling of drugs, migrants and weapons of mass destruction. The course will also examine questions of military activities, intelligence gathering at sea and maritime environmental protest. Ninety percent of the world's goods move by sea and we will cover the law governing the free movement of merchant and government ships. International trade, however, may also pose threats to the environment. This course will examine the legal questions raised both by vessel source pollution and the problems of exotic species being transported in ballast water. As a major coastal State, the law of the sea touches on vital questions of Australia's national interests many of which we will explore over the semester.
This course may be undertaken without previously having studied International Law of the Sea I. It does not cover questions of commercial maritime law such as the carriage of goods by sea and marine insurance.


Upon completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • understand and apply the international law of the sea as a body of rules to legal problems;
  • identify and critically discuss the content of the law of the sea with reference, inter alia, to appropriate treaty law, case law, evidence of custom and the writing of scholars;
  • recognise the dynamic process by which the law of the sea is made and understand its place within the broader system of public international law;
  • understand and critically evaluate some of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of the sea as a system of world public order in light of contemporary controversies and issues;
  • communicate effectively and persuasively in an international legal setting; and
  • conduct self-directed legal research.


Research paper (2,500 words) - 50%
Take-home examination (2500 words) - 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:
LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112; LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104