Law of the Sea and its Uses - Bachelor

Undergraduate course

Course description

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 will concentrate on the following marine and maritime topics:

  • Introduction to Law of the Sea and UNCLOS
  • Rules related to the exploitation of natural living and non-living offshore resources
  • The Blue Economy
  • Marine Environmental protection tools
  • Maritime Spatial planning tools in the EU and Norway
  • EU Common fisheries policy
  • Introduction to offshore energy

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 regimes applicable to the sea under the Public International Law as a common resource of humankind
  • Gain knowledge on 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
  • 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 and 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.

Students will also have developed certain skills and general competence, including:

  • The ability to understand and engage with doctrinal, policy, and theoretical sources of different types, and to use those sources to present scholarly arguments in the fields covered by the course;
  • The ability to apply academic knowledge and relevant work to practical and theoretical problems in the fields of marine/maritime spaces regulation, and to make well-founded choices between different legal and policy alternatives;
  • The ability to find, evaluate, and refer to information and scholarly ideas and to present them in an appropriate written manner;
  • The ability to engage in debates and write reasoned responses to questions on legal and policy issues in the field of sea utilization;
  • The ability to analyze and answer practical legal problems in the marine/maritime sectors

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Faculty of Law, University of Bergen
Required Previous Knowledge
Two years of law studies.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Good level of English language.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Combined with JUS293-2-A Law of the Sea and its Uses or JUS3516 Law of the Sea and its Uses this course will generate no new credits.

The course is designed to be complemented and combines successfully with:

Access to the Course

The course is available for students:

  • Admitted to the five-year master programme in law;
  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law.

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

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, group workshops, and possibilities to participate in specialized seminars/conferences.

Ten (10) lectures, one additional seminar/workshop (1). Total eleven sessions (11).

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Compulsory attendance at lectures/seminars.
Forms of Assessment

The exam consists of two parts:

  • Home exam: during the course the students shall write a paper of maximum 2,000 words on a subject provided by the course supervisor. The home exam constitutes 40% of the final grade.
  • School exam: Four-hour digital examination. The school exam constitutes 60% of the final grade.

Exam language:

Question paper: English

Answer paper: English

Grading Scale
A - E for passed, F for failed
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be ready 1 July for the autumn semester
Course Evaluation
According to the administrative arrangements for course evaluation at the Faculty of Law
Examination Support Material

Support materials allowed during school exam

See section 3-9 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

Special regulations about dictionaries

  • According to the Regulations for Studies, one dictionary is permitted support material during the examination. Bilingual dictionaries containing for example¿both Norwegian-English and English-Norwegian are considered as one dictionary;
  • Bilingual dictionaries to/from the same two languages - for example Norwegian-English/English-Norwegian - in¿two¿different volumes are also considered as one dictionary (irrespective of publisher or edition);
  • Dictionaries as described above cannot be combined with any other types of dictionaries;
  • Any kind of combination which makes up¿more than¿two physical volumes is forbidden;
  • In case a student has a special need for any other combination than the above mentioned, such combination has to be clarified with/approved by the course coordinator¿minimum two weeks¿before the exam. Students who have not been granted permission to have a special combination¿minimum¿two weeks¿before the exam will be subject to the¿usual regulations (Section 3-9) about examination support materials.
Programme Committee
The Academic Affairs Committee (Studieutvalget) at the Faculty of Law is responsible for ensuring the material content, structure and quality of the course.
Course Coordinator
Associate Professor Ignacio Herrera Anchustegui
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Law¿s section for students and academic affairs (Studieseksjonen) is responsible for administering the programme.