Faculty of Law

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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





  • First semester 2016 (Day)


This course provides a general introduction to the public international law of the sea with a focus on questions of maritime resource management. This includes living resources (principally fisheries) and non-living resources (such as oil and gas). The course will explore these issues in a manner which is historically informed and which focusses on topical case studies such as whaling in the Antarctic, the emergence of deep-sea mining technology or the the controversy between Australia and Timor Leste over the management of the oil and gas in the Timor Gap.

Key topics covered will include:

  • the negotiation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);
  • the law of maritime boundaries and territorial demarcation;
  • the legal regimes of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf;
  • living marine resource management including fisheries management and straddling stocks;
  • non-living marine resource management (including oil and gas, off-shore drilling and marine spatial planning) and the law of artificial islands and installations;
  • environmental protection (land-source pollution);
  • the International Seabed Authority and the regime of deep seabed exploration and mining; and
  • international dispute settlement and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

As a major coastal State, the law of the sea touches on vital questions of Australia's national interests and resource security - many of which we will explore over the semester. This course may be undertaken completely independently of International Law of the Sea II, though the two are complementary.

When possible, the course will be taught semi-intensively over nine weeks.


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 for resource allocation and management, and for the resolution of disputes over maritime resources; and
  • conduct self-directed legal research.


Reading note exercise (700 to 1,000 words): 20%
Research paper (2000 words): 40%
Take-home examination or accelerated assignment (2000 words): 40%

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