LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Module Convenor: Dr Douglas Guilfoyle Other Teachers: Dr Ben Milligan


The oceans are critical to States interests and human prosperity, being a highway for commerce, a shared resource and a vector for threats to security. They cover 70% of the earth’s surface, are the highway for 90% of the world’s international trade and provide 40% of the protein consumed in the developing world.

In this context, the law of the sea is assuming a new prominence in international affairs, from questions of environmental protection and offshore resource exploitation, to legal contests over disputed islands, polar resources and global-warming opened sea lanes, and even regarding the risk of maritime terrorism and smuggling weapons of mass destruction.

Other than the video above short introduction to the module can be viewed online at: http://bit.ly/1pNzAyC and a series of short videos introducing the substantive law can be found via: http://www.youtube.com/djaguilfoyle (see “Playlists” then “International Law of the Sea”).


Topics covered in the module will include:

  • Introduction to the law of the sea: history, legal sources and law-making processes
  • Zones under coastal State jurisdiction, including the uses of the Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf and the role of the IMO in environmental regulation
  • Innocent passage and the regime of Straits
  • Fisheries law
  • Marine scientific research
  • The deep seabed
  • Maritime boundary delimitation
  • The high seas regime and law-enforcement and security issues, including: piracy, drug and migrant smuggling, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  • Dispute resolution and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
  • Marine pollution and protection of the marine environment

Background Reading (optional):

Students without previous experience of international law will need to read, as soon as possible: Vaughan Lowe, International Law (Oxford, 2007) for a concise introduction to the field and Malcolm Evans “The Law of the Sea” in M Evans, International Law (Oxford, 2014; Chapter 22).

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 20 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Small – less than 30 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: International Law, Maritime Law
Final Assessment: 3,000 word coursework essay (50%) and 50% two-hour unseen written examination (50%)
Practice Assessment: Students will have the opportunity to submit one practice exam answer and 1,500 words of draft from their coursework essay. The former will receive comments and an indicative mark. The latter will receive comments and feedback.

This page was last updated on 10 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.