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:
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 20 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: This module cannot be taken with LAWSG127.
Core module for specialism: International Law, Maritime Law
Practice Assessment: To be confirmed
Assessment method for LLM students: 3,000 word coursework essay (50%) and 50% two-hour unseen written examination (50%)
Module Overview

Module summary

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 polar resources and global-warming opened sea lanes, and even regarding the risk of maritime terrorism and smuggling weapons of mass destruction.

A short introduction to the module can be viewed online at: http://bit.ly/1dPje2j or via http://www.youtube.com/djaguilfoyle.

Module syllabus

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 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

Recommended materials

The prescribed text for purchase is R.R. Churchill and A.V. Lowe, The Law of the Sea (3rd edn, Manchester University Press, 1999). A volume of treaties and other materials will be issued in class.

Students may also find it useful to consult Don Rothwell and Tim Stephens, The International Law of the Sea (Hart, 2010) and, for select topics, Douglas Guilfoyle, Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea (Cambridge, paperback ed 2011) but neither of these is required for purchase.

Preliminary reading

Students without previous experience of international law will need to read, as soon as possible, one of: M Evans (ed), International Law, 3rd ed (Oxford, OUP, 2010), Part II (Chapters 4-7); M Shaw, International Law, 6th ed (Cambridge, CUP, 2008), Chapters 3, 11, 12 and 16; or I Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law, 7th ed (Oxford, OUP, 2008), Chapters 1, 3, 9-11, 14-15 and 27.

Other information: N/A
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.

Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.