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Postgraduate course

Law of the Sea and its Uses

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeJUS293-2-A
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits

10 ECTS credits

Level of Study



Full time

Teaching semester


Place of Instruction

Faculty of Law, UiB

Objectives and Content

The Law of the Sea and its Uses: Maritime Spatial Planning & Strategies elective course seeks to provide the law students with expertise concerning the applicable rules governing the different uses of the sea from a sustainable development and multidisciplinary perspective. Coordination and an integrated approach to the management and use of sea areas and activities conducted in them through regulation are paramount for humankind, marine life, and the planet's survivability.

Students will learn what rules govern different marine areas, vertically and horizontally, and its uses. Among these, they will study the different global, regional and national legal and policy instruments, such as maritime spatial planning strategies, designed to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders and affected interests - including the environment - are taken into account and respected. Furthermore, students will learn how to recognize, address and evaluate conflicts arising from different interests, as well as understand and be able to navigate the complex jurisdictional and institutional matters arising from these activities from a national but also regional and global perspective.

The course objective and learning outcomes shall be met through a lecture plan that aims to provide students with a thorough and holistic approach to the governance of the sea and its uses. To this effect, this course has been designed combining different legal sub-disciplines connected to the regulation of the sea and activities that take place in it, as well as with some special natural science sessions dealing with `technical¿ aspects of some of the legal contents discussed. The course comprises ten (10) lectures and two (2) seminars on diverse uses of the sea taught by an interdisciplinary team.

Learning Outcomes

The general learning outcome of the course is to provide students with legal knowledge and legal tools related to the regulation of the sea and its uses. The skills and expertise learnt in this course may also be exported to other areas. The course and its learning outcomes are envisaged to be of relevance for future lawyers wanting to work in fields such as international relations (public international law), maritime industries (fisheries, energy, transport, mining, tourism), public offices dealing with sea and land planning (administrative law), as well as environmental and energy lawyers.

In particular, the course has as its learning outcomes:

  • Familiarize with and understand the Public International Law regulation of the seas as a common resource of humankind
  • Study critically the different instruments that have been developed to ensure the sustainable use of the sea as the primary regulatory frameworks on which complex and economically vital industries are built (fisheries, energy, maritime transport)
  • Analyze the main instruments for the governance of the oceans adopted in the EU and the EEA
  • Recognize, understand and address the different conflicts that arise from the governance of the sea and the activities which take place on it from a jurisdictional and sectoral perspective
  • Generate skills regarding the application of methods different from legal dogmatics exclusively
  • Learn to operationalize the law in areas in which other sciences, such as biology, geophysics, or meteorology, have a pivotal role. This is fundamental for a modern legal world influenced by ¿law and other disciplines¿ perspectives, such as law and new technologies or law and the environment, for example.
  • Develop interdisciplinary skills when dealing with complex legal matters
  • Serve as a tool for further career development and ignite interest concerning environmental, spatial planning, international and regional as well as energy law

The course will provide the students with different tools and skills connected to the regulation of the sea and its uses and which are transferable to other fields of the law.

In addition to the impartment and sharing of knowledge, an aspect that will be emphasized within the course is the aim to provide students with skills to develop critical thinking and problem-oriented analysis of the law. Of particular relevance is the issue of identifying overlapping areas of legal application, jurisdictional issues as well as different legal systems. Also, and based on the evaluation structure, it will train students in legal drafting and research, serving as a preparation for their master's thesis, for example. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary nature of the course also will teach students both analytical and communicative skills regarding the interaction of law and other disciplines - legal analysis of texts based on hard-sciences thinking and communicate legal complex matters to a non-legal audience.

Students are expected to be able to identify and correctly apply the different legislation applicable to sea regulation and its uses. Additionally, the course will contribute to the understanding of interdisciplinary disciplines in which law plays a part. Critical reflection on the understanding of the law coupled with its link to environmental and technical issues is expected to be developed among students.

Required Previous Knowledge

Three years of university studies.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Three years of law studies.

Good level of English language.

It would be of help but not necessarily required for this course to have some previous knowledge on Public International Law, EU/EEA Law, Administrative, and Environmental Law.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

No overlapping with courses at the Bergen Faculty of Law.

Access to the Course

The course is available for the following students:

  • Admitted to the integrated master programme in law
  • Admitted to the two-year master programme in law
  • Admitted to the master¿s programme in sustainability
  • Granted admission to elective courses at the Faculty of Law
  • Granted additional right to study following completed master degree in law at UiB
  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law

The pre-requirements may still limit certain students' access to the course

Teaching and learning methods

The course comprises ten (10) lectures that will be taught in a mix of styles, combining more traditional law teaching with more modern techniques, such as introducing group discussions and interactive sessions with quick `online¿ quizzes. Also, during the lectures cases will be used to illustrate theoretical points.

Additionally, two (2) lectures dealing with cross-disciplinary issues related to sea uses will be imparted during the course.

Lecture plan:

  1. Introduction to Law of the Sea and its Uses: A perspective on Ocean Sustainability and Law of the Sea Part 1
  2. Law of the Sea Part 2
  3. Law of the Sea Part 3
  4. International and regional framework for maritime spatial planning and international institutions: Public International Law and EU/EEA perspectives
  5. EU/EEA and National Marine Strategy Frameworks
  6. EU/EEA and National Maritime Spatial Planning - part 1
  7. EU/EEA and National Maritime Spatial Planning - part 2
  8. Interaction of law and sea uses from a local governance perspective
  9. Common fisheries policy of the EU and EEA perspectives
  10. Production of energy at the sea from an environmental and holistic perspective

Interdisciplinary seminars:

Introduction to meteorological conditions at the sea and atmosphere and ocean for wind energy

Coastal systems and on human impacts on organisms and ecological interactions

Students are expected to come prepared to the lectures and have read the assigned literature to engage in the discussion and participate.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

During the course, the students shall write a mandatory home exam (maximum 2000 words, excluding footnotes). The details of the home exam will be given at the first lecture. Students have 14 continuous days to deliver the paper once the topic has been assigned. The home exam will make up 50% of the final grade. It is necessary to pass the home exam to be allowed to take part in the 4-hour digital school exam, which will make up the remaining 50% of the final grade.

Resit of school exam only when home exam is passed.

Information about digital examination can be found here: www.uib.no/en/education/87471/digital-examinationwww.uib.no/en/education/87471/digital-examination


Examination Support Material

See section 3-5 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

In addition: Collection of relevant material (EU/EEA Directives and regulations) supplied by the Faculty of Law.

Grading Scale

A-E for passed, F for failed.

Assessment Semester


Course Evaluation

According to Faculty routines

Course Coordinator

Associate Professor Ignacio Herrera Anchustegui

Course Administrator

Studieseksjonen ved det juridiske fakultet