Spring 2022 Course Schedule

Seminar: Law of the Sea (LAW-721-001)
Steven Snell

Meets: 04:00 PM - 05:50 PM (Tu) - Yuma - Room Y250

Enrolled: 17 / Limit: 22

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The “Law of the Sea” formed the foundation of modern public international law. It also represents the world’s first efforts to define and regulate a “global commons” and to grapple with the notion of territory or resources managed by the international community as the “common heritage of mankind”. Beginning with its roots in the customary law of nations of early modern Europe, the course will trace the evolution of twenty-first century law of the sea through its partial codification in an assortment of multilateral agreements - including the United Nations’ Convention on Law of the Sea (“LOS Convention” or “UNCLOS”). Topics explored include freedom of navigation on the high seas, the limits on port-state jurisdiction over foreign vessels, the obligations of flag-states in maintaining their registries of vessels, and the scope of coastal nations’ power to regulate activities in their respective territorial waters, “contiguous zones”, and “exclusive economic zones”. The course also examines through case-studies how the UNCLOS regime functions in tandem with various other multilateral agreements, customary international law, and domestic law in addressing specific current issues, including management of living and nonliving resources on the Continental Shelf, suppression of piracy, reduction of pollution, preservation of undersea cultural heritage, and protection of highly migratory fish stocks.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.


CASES AND MATERIALS ON THE LAW OF THE SEA (2d ed., Louis Sohn, John E. Noyes, Erik Franckx & Kristen G. Juras eds., Boston: Brill Nijhoff, 2014) [ISBN 978-04-16990—6]

INTERNATIONAL LAW ANTHOLOGY (Anthony D’Amato ed., Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Co., 1994) [ISBN: 087084-360-5]


R. R. CHURCHILL & A.V. LOWE, THE LAW OF THE SEA (3d ed., Manchester: Juris Publishing, 1999)


First Class Readings

International Law Anthology (Anthony D’Amato editor, Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Company, 1994), Chapter 2: “History of the Law of Nations”, Subsections A-C (pages 11-36) [PDF]

Emmerich de Vattel, The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law Applied to the Conduct and to the Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (1758 Edition, Charles G. Fenwick translator, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1916), Preface at pages 3a-13a; Introduction at pages 3-9 [PDF]

Thomas Paine, Compact Maritime (Washington, D.C.: Samuel Harrison Smith, 1801) [24 pages] [PDF]

Steven L. Snell, “The Law of Nations in Late Eighteenth-Century America”, in Courts of Admiralty and the Common Law: Origins of the American Experiment in Concurrent Jurisdiction (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2007), Chapter IV: pages 332-359 [PDF]


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