LAW 2571 - Law of the Sea

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the Law of the Sea for the first time. It will draw on students' knowledge of international law. The unit will cover most of the topics addressed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including territorial sea, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone, deep seabed, as well as some contemporary issues such as South China Sea disputes and changing Polar regions.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2571
    Course Law of the Sea
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Prerequisites LAW 1501; LAW 1508
    Restrictions Available to LLB and B.Criminology with B.Laws and BArts Advanced with B.Laws students only
    Course Description The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the Law of the Sea for the first time. It will draw on students' knowledge of international law. The unit will cover most of the topics addressed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including territorial sea, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone, deep seabed, as well as some contemporary issues such as South China Sea disputes and changing Polar regions.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Kerryn Brent

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

    1.Analyse the foundational principles of law of the sea, undertake self-directed legal research at a foundational level, and evaluate legal information;

    2.Apply knowledge of law of the sea to complex problems/ issues, critique the operation of law of the sea from a theoretical/policy perspective, either individually or as part of a team;

    3.Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written and/or oral arguments for a legal/professional/general/mixed audience;

    4.Conduct legal research and analysis and undertake practical legal work at a basic level both independently and cooperatively in a professional/academic environment;

    5.Analyse the impact/operation of law of the sea from policy/comparative/international/interdisciplinary perspectives, and in the context of social and cultural diversity;

    6.Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake work as a member of a team;
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The prescribed textbook for this course is Yoshifumi Tanaka, The International Law of the Sea (Cambridge University Press, 3rd Ed, 2019).

    Recommended Resources
    In addition to the prescribed text, the following resources are recommended:

    D R Rothwell & T Stephens, The International Law of the Sea (Hart Publishing, 2nd Ed, 2016). 
    D R Rothwell, A G Oude Elferink, K N Scott & T Stephens (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea (Oxford University Press, 2015). 
    R Rayfuse (ed), Research Handbook on International Marine Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, 2015). 
    J McDonald, J McGee & R Barnes, Research Handbook on Climate Change, Oceans & Coasts (Edward Elgar, 2020).

    Key academic journals:
    International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
    Ocean Development and International Law
    Ocean Yearbook
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, additional class materials (such as slides (if used), audio recordings of the lectures (if available), and other materials students are specifically required to read for class), and assessment-related information. Electronic copies of the Course Profile, Reading Guide, and Course Materials will also be available on MyUni.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course. An announcement will be made when additional material is posted.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Law of the Sea has a value of 3 units and will involve three hours of teaching activities each week. This course will be delivered using a mixture of lectures and interactive seminars. 

    Each week will comprise of a two hour online lecture and a one hour face-to-face seminar. Seminars will be interative, and will involves group discussion and activities. Students are expected to have undertaken the reading and watched the relevant lectures before attending seminars. 


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (ie those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. As this is a 3-unit course, students are expected to devote an average of 12 hours per week to their studies in it, including classes. Students in this course are expected to watch the two hours of online lectures and attend one one-hour seminar each week. In addition, students should allocate time to private study in the course across the 12 week semester – this includes reading the material, preparing for class, working in small study groups, and undertaking the assessment tasks.
    Learning Activities Summary
    A schedule of topics will be provided via MyUni in week 1 of semester. Topics that may be covered include:

    • The History and Sources of the International Law of the Sea
    • Internal Waters, Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone
    • Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone   
    • Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries
    • High Seas and Deep Seabed
    • Navigational Rights 
    • Marine Resources Management
    • Marine Scientific Research
    • Marine Environmental Protection
    • Climate Change and the Law of the Sea
    • Polar Regions and the Law of the Sea
    • Rising Powers and the Law of the Sea
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome Length Redeemable
    Seminar Engagement  Individual 10% 1,2,5,6 No
    Online Quiz Individual 30 March 2021, 5pm 5% 1,2 30 mins No
    Interim Assignment Individual 29 April, 2021 2pm 30% 1,2,3,4 2000 No
    Research Essay Individual 8 June 2021 2pm 55% 1,2,3,4,5 3500 No
    Assessment Detail
    Seminar engagement (10%)
    In seminars, students are expected to participate in group discussions and activities, and actively contribute to the class. In week 1, students will be allocated one seminar between weeks 2-12 in which they will a seminar leader. There may be multiple seminar leaders per week. Seminar leaders will be expected to lead discussions and activities, and may be called upon specifically to answer questions. Students will be evaluated on the quality of their engagement and contributions for the week in which they are a seminar leader.  

    Online quiz (5%)
    In week 5, student must complete an online quiz via MyUni. The quiz will assess material from week 1-4, and students will have 30 minutes to complete it. The quiz will be made available at 9am 29 March and will close at 5pm 30 March. Students are expected to set aside time during that period to complete the quiz.

    Interim assignment (30%)
    Students must submit a 2000 word mid-semester assignment. Further details of the interim assignment will be released by/in Week 5.

    Research essay (55%)
    Students must submit a 3500 word research essay. Further details of the research essay will be released by/in Week 8.


    Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    All assignments in this course are to be submitted electronically through Turnitin.

    Details for electronic submission through Turnitin will be provided with the assignment instructions.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, The Australian Guide to Legal Citation 4th Edition.

    Extensions: Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.


    1. Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% (of the total mark of the assignment) each day (or part thereof) will be deducted for late submission (including weekends and public holidays), (ie an essay graded 63% will have 5 % deducted if it is one day late, for a final mark of 58%, 10% if it is two days, etc).
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length or page limit) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 3,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 3001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 3101 words long, etc).  Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information.  Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.

    Turnaround time: The interim assignment for this course will be returned to students within 2-4 weeks of the submission date. Group feedback, together with written, individual feedback will be provided, from which students can learn from in the final assignment. The final assignment will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with written individual feedback.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Student feedback The course is constantly being updated and revised to reflect the evolution of the law, to respond to student feedback, and to engage with the latest teaching practices. Student feedback is collected each time the course is run, including through SELT reports. Previous SELT reports, and staff feedback on them, are posted on the course MyUni site for students to view and consider.
  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    The centre offers practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Academic Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia. Academic Integrity is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.