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The Law of the Sea is that body of international law which regulates the activities of States in their international relations concerning maritime matters. It is one of the most dynamic and important areas of international law, and is of particular importance to Australia, which possesses one of the largest maritime areas on earth. This course aims to examine the current legal regime governing ocean uses. The course will examine the major maritime zones recognised in international law and the rules relating to the various uses of the seas including fishing, shipping and navigation, scientific research and mining. It will examine the way in which disputes over conflicting uses of the seas arise and the manner in which they are handled and will look at the interrelationship between the public international law of the sea and municipal law with particular reference to matters of importance to Australia.

This course is also available to students undertaking relevant postgraduate non-law degree programs at UNSW, provided such enrolment is approved by the appropriate non-law Faculty.

Main Topics

  • The history of the Law of the Sea
  • Baselines and internal waters
  • The territorial sea
  • The exclusive economic zone
  • The high seas
  • The international sea bed area
  • Maritime boundary delimitation
  • Nationality of ships
  • Proscribed activities
  • Navigation
  • Fishing
  • Protection of the marine environment
  • Marine scientific research
  • Sea bed mining.
Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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