Fundamental Principles of International Law
This module will be available only for visiting exchange students from Chinese partner universities.
IP, Innovation and the Law
This module¿studies the impact of the fourth industrial revolution, precisely modern innovative technologies on law and regulation of intellectual property rights in the digital age.¿It¿focuses on the relationship between law, innovation and technological developments, and explores legal protection of intellectual assets created in the process of digitalisation.
In the digital age, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives and classic human-to-human interactions have transformed into human-to-machine communications. Apart from the inevitable boost in e-commerce and automatisation powered by AI, big data and computation, our dependence on digital technologies and services has increased over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst these enormous changes brought by the fourth industrial revolution, digitalisation and intellectual property become hand in hand. Indeed, creative assets and intellectual property rights might become more vulnerable to thefts or infringement risks. Hence, governments and legal authorities strive to ensure appropriate regulation and protection which in turn facilitate digitalisation and provide more opportunities for innovative activities.
The module is designed to give students a knowledge base of the legal doctrines and provisions that are applied to intangible outputs and intellectual property rights and their implications in the digitalised world. It gives an overview of the emerging technological developments and digitalisation trends and scrutinises their relationship with intellectual property rights created through transactions taking place in cyberspace.¿Upon critical evaluation of the nature and significance of intellectual property rights including¿copyrights, patents, trademarks, designs and similar rights¿in terms of technology, commercial interests and the law, the module underpins the increased importance of intangibles, such as brands, know-how and data in the digital economy. In this vein, the course sheds light on the private and public interests of businesses, enterprises, governments as well as the international community to ensure legal protection of intellectual property rights and explores national, regional (EU) and international aspects of the regulatory frameworks. The module further delves into the fundamentals of blockchain¿technology and smart contracts and their implications for the intellectual property ecosystem. Moreover, having regard to technological innovations experienced in the maritime industry and the government¿s Marine 2050 strategy, the course also looks at the intellectual property aspects of the AI-powered ships operating independently of human interaction. Finally, the module addresses intellectual property and technology disputes and their resolution.
Law of the Sea
The oceans constitute more than two-thirds of the entire planet and are of fundamental importance for human activity and for sustaining life: for example, they provide for commerce and navigational routes and contain a substantial amount of our natural resources. This module examines the international legal framework that is applicable to the oceans, and addresses a number of key issues and concepts of the law of the sea, including the rights and duties of states over maritime areas and its resources, as well as with regard to maritime areas that are beyond the jurisdiction of (coastal) states (e.g. the high seas); threats to maritime security, including illegal conduct (e.g. piracy and maritime terrorism) and law enforcement at sea; navigational rights of ships (e.g. warships and autonomous ships); the importance of marine environmental issues; and the protection of human rights at sea.
The primary aim of this course is to provide a critical overview of the rules of public international law that address the oceans, with an emphasis on those rules and duties that concern their use and relate to offshore resources. The principal rights and duties of states will be analysed and evaluated, including the allocation and exploitation of natural resources, as well as the principle of the exclusivity of flag state jurisdiction. Because of the flag state being `exclusively¿ responsible for a ship flying its flag on the high seas, difficulties concerning maritime security and the protection of human rights can come to the fore, especially if the flag state lacks enforcement capacity, there are other enforcement barriers, or the flag is generally unwilling to monitor its ships closely. There will also be an examination of shared resources and maritime areas beyond coastal state jurisdiction, as well as of the rules on dispute resolution under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and general international law. Law of the sea cases constitute a significant portion of the case-load of many leading international courts and tribunals. The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People¿s Republic of China) is an example of a case that will be analysed more closely. Issues concerning the exercise of maritime jurisdiction by coastal, flag and port states, navigation and shipping standards (including standards set in conventions negotiated under the auspices of the international maritime organisation (IMO)), marine pollution, and submarine cables and pipelines will also receive appropriate attention.
Topical issues, such as sea-level rise, autonomous vehicles, Arctic shipping, maritime boundary disputes (including those in the South China Sea and the East China Sea), and the contemporary fight against maritime piracy, will also be discussed as part of the module.
Understanding the law of the sea is of vital importance for students that want to become maritime lawyers: for instance, shipping and navigation are regulated on the international level by this branch of law. Knowledge of the law of the sea is equally important for students that are interested in energy law, as the law of the sea provides the applicable international legal framework concerning offshore (renewable) energy resources.
Admiralty Law is offered as a one-year LLM subject and is commonly taken alongside other maritime options, such as Charterparties: Law and Practice, Law of the Sea, Oil and Gas Law and Marine Insurance Law. However, there is little direct intellectual interaction between the current module on Admiralty Law and other maritime modules. Thus, the course may be of particular interest to students enrolled both on the specific programme of International Maritime Law, as well as the International Commercial and Maritime Law.
This course concerns a practical aspect of maritime law which was developed by the Admiralty Court in England, and which has influenced many countries in the world. The aim of the course is to provide students with a practical and critical knowledge of those aspects of maritime law relating to the running of the ship. The course is essentially in two parts. Part one deals with substantive areas of maritime law, such as the law of collisions, harbour law, pilotage, salvage, towage, general average, seafarer¿s rights, and carriage of passengers. Part two focuses on enforcement of maritime claims through the practice and procedure of the Admiralty Court, including ship arrest, jurisdiction, maritime liens, statutory liens, and limitation of liability.
Although we shall analyse relevant legal concepts from the perspective of English law, the true international character of the course will rapidly become apparent. Many aspects of maritime law have been regulated by international conventions, i.e. the Convention Relating to the Arrest of Sea Going Ships 1952; the International Convention on Salvage 1989; International Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976. This would inevitably mean that rules and problems encountered will be similar in various jurisdictions. For example, rules on salvage will be identical in England/Wales; Canada; China; France; Greece; Germany; India; Italy; Nigeria; Norway; Turkey, as all these countries have implemented the provisions of the Salvage Convention 1989 into their legal system either by accession or ratification.
Offshore Energy Law
Offshore energy resources include hydrocarbon resources, such as oil and gas, and renewable energy (including those that come from wind and ocean currents). Fields of (international) law that have shaped rules of offshore energy law and influence and regulate offshore energy related issues are inter alia international law of the sea, international environmental law, investment law, and human rights law, all of which will be discussed in this module. Offshore energy law deals with many different issues, some examples are the extraction of (renewable) energy resources and the environmental impact of such activities.
The module will focus both on offshore renewable energy resources and hydrocarbon resources (e.g. oil and gas). Nowadays, and despite the potential of using renewable energy resources, the importance of oil and gas resources remains difficult to overstate. Our prosperity, progress and mobility are heavily indebted to utilising hydrocarbon resources for energy. Oil and gas are transportable, still relatively cheap and comparatively abundant sources of energy. They are also the fundamental ingredient in many of the products that we use daily and the engine of economic growth in many parts of our globalised world. Nowadays, 60% of the oil and gas resources come from offshore areas ¿ supplies of oil and gas on land are increasingly nearing the end of their lifespan, and chances are slim of discovering new oil and gas supplies on land. Predictions have been made that about 70% of the oil and gas reserves that have yet to be discovered are located offshore, some of which are based in areas where the States concerned have not agreed on the location of their maritime boundary. As a result, maritime areas where oil and gas resources are present, or are rumoured to be located, have increasingly come to attract the interest of the oil and gas industry. This led to a significant expansion of the offshore industry, particularly in the last 25 years, which was also the moment when the offshore exploration and exploitation for oil and gas resources took flight.
Although hydrocarbons still power the majority of the world, there has been a large expansion on the discussion, research and implementation of renewable energy over the past two decades. This trend seems to be growing with both developed and developing states pledging action and investment in the development of these new, cleaner technologies. One background to this development is that there are risks involved in relying heavily on fossil fuels ¿ including environmental devastation, dependence on an often-volatile international market, and depletion of a finite resource. Renewables promise solutions to all of these problems but face challenges of their own, including the consistent failure of States to meet both international and national targets, a general downturn in renewable energy investment (especially during the last half decade), the expense and difficulty of establishing the infrastructure necessary to implement these renewable energies, and the fact that science has yet to make these technologies as cheap and efficient as their polluting rivals.
This module aims to provide the students with an understanding of the international and transnational legal frameworks governing offshore (renewable) energy resources and the offshore energy sector.