LAWS8086/JURD7586 Law of the Sea

Lecturer: Rosemary Rayfuse

What is the course about?
The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. They are avenues for communication and transport, sources of food and other resources, and providers of critical ecosystem services on which all humanity depends. The Law of the Sea is that body of international law which regulates the activities of States in their international relations concerning the oceans and their uses. It provides the legal framework for the establishment of maritime zones in which States have varying degrees of jurisdiction, sets out the rules – some contentious, some not – relating to the various uses of the oceans including fishing, shipping and navigation, scientific research and seabed mining, and provides mechanisms for the resolution of disputes over conflicting uses of the oceans.

Why does the subject interest you?
The Law of the Sea 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. International cooperation in the use of the oceans and in the conservation and sustainable use of its resources is of importance both to international peace and security and to the continued existence of humans on the Earth.

Do you have any advice for students who are interested in the course?
A background in international law can’t hurt. But more important is some knowledge of the multiple and myriad ways in which humans use the oceans.

How will this course be relevant in the future?
The course will provide students with a broad but thorough knowledge of the Law of the Sea and the legal challenges that arise in regulating human uses – including everything from people smuggling to marine geoengineering – of our amazing ‘Blue Planet’.