• Class Number 4582
  • Term Code 3250
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • Prof Donald Rothwell
    • Prof Donald Rothwell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/08/2022
  • Class End Date 23/09/2022
  • Census Date 12/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course will focus on the impact of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and more recent supplementary agreements in the light of current State practice, seeking to identify, in particular, the extent to which its provisions have become part of customary international law in that area.

The course will address the following:

  • the history of Law of the Sea concepts
  • internal waters, territorial waters and the regime of innocent passage
  • the contiguous zone
  • transit passage through straits used for international navigation
  • islands, archipelagoes and the regime of archipelagic sealanes passage
  • the Exclusive Economic Zone
  • the Continental Shelf
  • recent developments in delimitation of maritime zones
  • the high seas and the management of High Seas fisheries
  • deep-seabed mining and the International Area.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain, distinguish and apply advanced knowledge of the key concepts and principles that are applicable in the law of the sea and apply this knowledge in the context of the specific workings of international law, especially other relevant treaties, customary international law and methods of dispute resolution;
  2. Demonstrate extensive practical and theoretical familiarity with the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
  3. Analyse and show advanced understanding of some of the key law of the sea issues confronting Australia and the Asia Pacific region;
  4. Identify how the law of the sea interacts with related areas of international law such as maritime security and concepts of state sovereignty; and
  5. Plan and compose an advanced-level research paper which critically examines one or more contemporary law of the sea issues.

Research-Led Teaching

The course has a strong focus on research-led teaching with respect to a) the relevant literature on the law of the sea, and b) the research experience and practical legal experience of the convenor in law of the sea; and c) the research experience of invited guest lecturers and other presenters in law of the sea.

Required Resources

The prescribed text for this course is: Donald R. Rothwell and Tim Stephens, The International Law of the Sea 2nd Hart/Bloomsbury, Oxford: 2016

The text is available at the ANU branch of Harry Hartog: http://www.harryhartog.com.au/textbooks. Additional resources will be made available via the course WATTLE site

In advance of the course commencing it is recommended that you undertake the following preliminary reading:

  •  Rothwell and Stephens, The International Law of the Sea 2nd Chapter 1
  •  1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Articles 1-45 (available on WATTLE)

The following reference works have been placed on Closed Reserve in the Library:

  • Lowe and Talmon, The Legal Order of the Oceans: Basic Documents on the Law of the Sea (2009)
  • Rothwell and Letts (eds), The Law of the Sea in South East Asia (2019)
  • Rothwell, Oude Elferink, Scott and Stephens, The Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea (2015)
  • Tanaka, The International Law of the Sea 3rd ed (2019)

The following journals are also recommended:

  • Australian Year Book of International Law (AYBIL)
  • International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (IJMCL)
  • Marine Policy (MP)
  • Ocean Development and International Law (ODIL)
  • Ocean Yearbook

The Oceans and Law of the Sea Homepage of the UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea is also recommended: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/index.htm

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • individual and all class feedback during class exercises and discussion
  • generic all class feedback on the take-home examination
  • individual feedback on the take-home examination as requested
  • individual written comments on the research essay

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Further information about the course: is available from the course Wattle page. Students are required to access the Wattle site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 This is an intensive online course taught over 8 days commencing on 1 August 2022.
2 1 August 2022 (1500-1800): Course Introduction and Administration A. Development of the Modern Law of the Sea
3 2 August 2022 (1500-1800): B. Coastal State Waters Q&A + Class Exercise
4 3 August 2022 (1500-1800): C. Continental Shelf D. Exclusive Economic Zone Q&A + Class Exercise Debrief
5 4 August 2022 (1500-1800): E. High Seas F. Navigational Rights and Freedoms Q&A + Class Exercise
6 8 August 2022 (1500-1800): G. Maritime Boundary Delimitation H. Fisheries Management I. Deep Seabed
7 9 August 2022 (1500-1800): J. Islands and the Law of the Sea South China Sea Case Study + Guest Panel
8 10 August 2022 (1500-1800): L. Marine Environmental Protection K. Maritime Regulation and Enforcement Class Exercise
9 11 August 2022 (1500-1800): M. Dispute Resolution; BBNJ Negotiations Case Study + Guest Panel Concluding Remarks

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Take-Home Test 30 % 20/08/2022 02/09/2022 1,2,4
Essay 70 % 19/09/2022 12/10/2022 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend. 

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 20/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 02/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Take-Home Test

Details of Task: Take-Home Test assessing course content covered in class with an option of answering one of two problem-type questions.

?Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Word limit: No longer than 2000 words. The ANU College of Law excess word penalty policy can be found here: https://law.anu.edu.au/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties. Assessment must be submitted in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files are not acceptable.

Release: 8am, Friday 19 August 2022.

Due date: 5pm, due Saturday 20 August 2022 via Turnitin. Late submission of take-home tests is not permitted. If this assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. If you experience unavoidable and extenuating circumstances (foreseen or additional work commitments are not grounds for an extension) and cannot complete the assessment at the due date and time, you should apply for an extension to the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services: https://law.anu.edu.au/forms/assessment-extension-request. The College will give you one further opportunity to complete the assessment, at the same time one week later. This will be your final opportunity to complete the task. Extensions are not available if you have opened the assessment on Wattle.

Estimated return date: Friday 2 September 2022

Assessment Criteria:

a) Content

  • answering the question asked
  • identification of the legal issues raised from the question
  • legal principles stated/explained with accuracy
  • legal principles stated/explained in appropriate detail
  • relevant facts recognised and linked to the legal principles
  • recognition and evaluation of judicial and statutory ambiguities and ‘grey areas’
  • originality/innovation in approach to issues
  • clear conclusions

b) Structure/organisation

  • emphasis on the significant issues
  • answer is coherent and structure logical

c) Expression

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling

No Bibliography is required for primary or secondary sources used in the take-home examination

Assessment Task 2

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 19/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


Nature of Task: Research essay selected from one of five approved essay topics, or a student-proposed and approved essay topic. Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Word limit: 4,500 words. The ANU College of Law excess word penalty policy can be found here: https://law.anu.edu.au/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties. Assessment must be submitted in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files are not acceptable.

Release: The topic is to be selected from one of five essay topics that will be released at the conclusion of the class and available via Wattle. Students may also seek to develop their own essay topic, which is to be approved by the Course Convenor no later than 31 August 2022.

Due date: 5pm, Monday 19 September 2022 via Turnitin. Late submissions without an extension are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: 12 October 2022

Assessment Criteria:

a) Content

  • Understanding of the Issues
  • addresses the question and covers all the important points
  • evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed not just summarised or quoted extensively

b) Communication and Development of Arguments

  • clear theme or argument
  • arguments logical and well-organised
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently

c) Argument/Analysis

  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas
  • suggestions for change where appropriate
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate
  • addressing opposing arguments
  • well-reasoned conclusions

d) Research

  • research covering primary and secondary materials
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate
  • range of research sources
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay

e) Presentation, style and referencing

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging of reader
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling
  • full and accurate footnotes of all sources
  • referencing consistent with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation
  • A Bibliography of all sources consulted
  • adherence to word limit.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.
  • Late submission is not accepted for test or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been given an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time is provided in writing. Please note that the revised due date is calculated by including weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date are penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the assessment task per day or part thereof.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Available via WATTLE and email

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Not permissible for Assessment Task 1. Permissible for Assessment Task 2 only i) prior to the due date, AND ii) with permission of the convenor

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Donald Rothwell
+61 2 6125 8948

Research Interests

Donald R Rothwell is Professor of International Law at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University where he has taught since July 2006. His research has a specific focus on law of the sea, international polar law, and implementation of international law within Australia as reflected in 26 books, and over 200 articles, book chapters and notes in international and Australian publications. Rothwell’s recent authored, co-authored or edited books include Islands and International Law (Hart, 2022); International Law in Australia 3rd (Thomson Reuters, 2017) edited with Crawford; and The International Law of the Sea 2nd (Bloomsbury, 2016) with Stephens. Major career works include The Polar Regions and the Development of International Law (CUP, 1996), and International Law: Cases and Materials with Australian Perspectives 3rd (CUP, 2018) with Kaye, Akhtar-Khavari, Davis and Saunders. Rothwell is also an Editor of the Australian Year Book of International Law and Editor-in-Chief of the Brill Research Perspectives in Law of the Sea. His most recent works include The Legal Authority of ASEAN as a Security Institution (CUP, 2019), with Nasu, McLaughlin and Tang, and The Law of the Sea in South East Asia (Routledge, 2019), edited with Letts. From 2012-18 he was Rapporteur of the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on ‘Baselines under the International Law of the Sea’. He has taught a range of courses including Law of the Sea, International Dispute Resolution, International Law and Use of Armed Force, International Humanitarian Law, Military Operations Law, and Public International Law. Rothwell was previously Challis Professor of International Law and Director of the Sydney Centre for International and Global Law, University of Sydney (2004-2006), where he had taught since 1988. He has acted as a consultant or been a member of expert groups for UNEP, UNDP, IUCN, the Australian Government, and acted as advisor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). In 2012 Rothwell was appointed an inaugural ANU Public Policy Fellow, and in 2015 elected as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL). He is a regular media commentator on international law issues and has written over 100 opinion comments, including for all of the major daily newspapers in Australia and ABC Online ‘The Drum. His media interviews have included ABC TV 7.30, ABC Radio ‘AM’ and ‘PM’, ABC Radio National ‘Breakfast’, ABC News 24, Al Jazerra (TV), BBC World (TV), the Voice of America, and The New York Times.

Prof Donald Rothwell

By Appointment
Prof Donald Rothwell
+61 2 6125 8948

Research Interests

Prof Donald Rothwell

By Appointment

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