1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Polar Law

Edited By Yoshifumi Tanaka, Rachael Johnstone, Vibe Ulfbeck Copyright 2023
    734 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Polar law describes the normative frameworks that govern the relationships between humans, States, Peoples, institutions, land and resources in the Arctic and the Antarctic. These two regions are superficially similar in terms of natural environmental conditions but the overarching frameworks that apply are fundamentally different. The Routledge Handbook of Polar Law explores the legal orders in the Arctic and Antarctic in a comparative perspective, identifying similarities as well as differences. It points to a distinct discipline of "Polar law" as the body of rules governing actors, spaces and institutions at the Poles. Four main features define the collection: the Arctic-Antarctic interface; the interaction between global, regional and domestic legal regimes; the rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the increasing importance of private law. While these broad themes have been addressed to varying extents elsewhere, the editors believe that this Handbook brings them together to create a comprehensive (if never exhaustive) account of what constitutes Polar law today. Leading scholars in public international and private law as well as experts in related fields come together to offer unique insights into polar law as a burgeoning discipline.

    List of maps

    List of contributors



    1. Polar Law as Burgeoning Discipline

    Rachael Johnstone, Yoshifumi Tanaka, and Vibe Ulfbeck

    Part One: International Legal Order in the Polar Regions

    Section A. Legal Regimes governing the Polar Regions

    2. Polar Legal System

    Yoshifumi Tanaka, Rachael Johnstone, and Vibe Ulfbeck

    3. Territorial Claims to Antarctica

    Patrizia Vigni 

    4. Challenges Relating to Baselines in Polar Regions

    Suzanne Lalonde and Clive Schofield

    5. Maritime Boundary Delimitation in the Polar Regions

    Bjarni Már Magnússon and Snjólaug Árnadóttir

    6. The Jurisdiction of Coastal States in Ice-Covered Waters

    Suzanne Lalonde and Ted L McDorman

    7. Navigational Rights and Freedoms in the Polar Regions

    Erik Franckx

    8. Scientific Research in the Polar Regions

    Betsy Baker

    9. The Changing Maritime Security Landscape in the Polar Regions

    Sophia Galani

    10. International Dispute Settlement and the Polar Regions

    Donald R Rothwell



    Section B. Environmental Protection of the Polar Regions

    11. Two Models on Environmental Protection of the Polar Regions

    Yoshifumi Tanaka

    12. Environmental Impact Assessment in the Polar Regions

    Romain Chuffart and Julia Jabour

    13. Climate Change and Polar Regions

    Tim Stephens

    14. Protection of Biological Diversity in the Polar Regions by Marine Protected Areas

    Ingvild Ulrikke Jakobsen

    15. Wilderness Protection in the Polar Regions

    Antje Neumann

    Section C. Polar Resource Management

    16. Regulation of Fisheries in Polar Regions

    Rosemary Rayfuse

    17. Marine Mammals in the Polar Regions

    Malgosia Fitzmaurice and Rob C Steenkamp

    18. International Regulation of Mineral Resources Activities in the Polar Regions

    Alan D Hemmings and Timo Koivurova

    Part Two: Regional Issue of International Institutions and Actors

    Section A. Institutional Approach to the Polar Governance

    19. The IMO and Outstanding Maritime Safety and Environmental Issues under the Polar Code

    Marel Katsivela

    20. The International Seabed Authority and the Polar Regions

    Edwin Egede

    21. The Arctic Council and its "Legislative" Activities

    Natalia Loukacheva

    22. The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings as a Forum of Law-Making

    Luis Valentín Ferrada 

    Section B. Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    23. Colonisation at the Poles, Incomplete Decolonisation and the Creation of Indigenous Peoples

    Rachael Lorna Johnstone

    24. Indigenous Rights and Human rights

    Paul Patton

    25. The Girjas Saami Case: Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Dispose Freely of Natural Resources

    Jan Mikael Lundmark

    26. Natural Resource Development in the Arctic and the Question of Sami Land Rights in Finland

    Juha Joona and Tanja Joona

    Section C. Special Issues

    27. The Evolving Constitution of Greenland

    Helle Kunke, Natuk Lund Olsen, Manasse Lars Mikaelsen and Sune Klinge

    28. Svalbard

    Tore Henriksen

    29. Japan and the Polar Region

    Kentaro Nishimoto

    30. China and the Polar Region

    Nengye Liu, Sanna Kopra and Jiliang Chen

    Part Three: Private Governance in the Polar Legal System

    Section A. Natural resources

    31. Mineral Exploitation Licences in Greenland. The Modification Issue

    Rasmus Grønved Nielsen and Vibe Ulfbeck

    32. Sustainable development in contract law. Greenland Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs)

    Lone Wandahl Mouyal

    33. Meaningful stakeholder consultation and social impact assessment

    Karin Buhmann

    34. Corporate Governance and Native Alaskan Corporations

    Grant Christensen

    35. Mutually Agreed Terms, Arctic Genetic Resources and Private International Law

    David Leary

    36. China’s Investment treaties with the Arctic States: time for revision?

    Maxim Usynin

    Section B. Shipping in the Polar regions

    37. Charterparty Contracts and Clauses for Arctic Shipping

    Richard L. Kilpatrick

    38. Oil Pollution Liability for Polar Shipping

    Erik Røsæg

    39. Polar cruise ship tourism and liability for injuries of passengers and workers – are they in the same boat?

    Vibe Ulfbeck and Marlene Louise Buch Andersen

    40. Shipping, Insurance and the Polar Code

    Trine-Lise Wilhemsson and Hans Jacob Bull


    Yoshifumi Tanaka is Professor of International Law, with specific focus on the law of the sea, at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. He is a member of the Centre for Private Governance (CEPRI) and the Research Group SHOC (Shipping and Ocean Law). He holds a DES and a PhD from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva (currently the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva) and a LLM from Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. He is the single author of five books: Predictability and Flexibility in the Law of Maritime Delimitation (Hart Publishing 2006; 2nd edn 2019), A Dual Approach to Ocean Governance: The Cases of Zonal and Integrated Management in International Law of the Sea (Ashgate 2008), The International Law of the Sea (1st edition, Cambridge University Press 2012; 3rd edn 2019; 4th edn forthcoming), The Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes (Cambridge University Press 2018) and The South China Sea Arbitration: Toward an International Legal Order in the Oceans (Hart Publishing, 2019). He has published widely in the fields of the law of the sea, international environmental law and peaceful settlement of international disputes.

    Rachael Lorna Johnstone is professor of law at the University of Akureyri, Iceland and professor of law at Ilisimatusarfik (University of Greenland). Rachael Johnstone grew up on the north coast of Scotland before studying law at the University of Glasgow, European Academy of Legal Theory in Brussels, and the University of Toronto. Her legal education is of the western model, a mix of common law and civil law traditions. It is to her discredit that despite studying for eight years in three countries with colonial histories, she graduated from each of them with very little knowledge of colonialism or Indigenous law. She took up a teaching post at the University of Akureyri, Iceland in 2003 where she has since been based. In 2011, she enrolled in the university’s masters programme in Polar law and began to specialise increasingly in that field. Rachael has also taught and conducted research in various capacities at Ilisimatusarfik (the University of Greenland) since 2011 and she has learned a great deal from Inuit scholars, not least her Greenlandic students. In the past decade, she has turned her attention increasingly to the rights of Indigenous Peoples amid broader questions of decolonisation of international law. This entails conscious ‘unlearning’ of many of the assumptions of and about international law that constrained her earlier research. She does not presume to speak on behalf of Indigenous Peoples or present an Indigenous viewpoint.

    Vibe Ulfbeck is a professor of private law with a special focus on maritime law at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. She is the director of CEPRI, Centre for Private Governance, Head of the Research Group SHOC (Shipping and Ocean Law) and founder of the Sustainability Hub at the Law Faculty. She has written extensively on contract law, tort law and maritime law issues and takes a special interest in the role of private actors in carrying out public interest tasks. She is the author of a number of articles concerning the exploitation of minerals in the Arctic and the co-editor of the books Responsibilities and Liabilities for Commercial Activity in the Arctic - The Example of Greenland (Routledge 2016), Law and Responsible Supply Chain Management – Contract and Tort, Interplay and Overlap (Routledge 2019) and Maritime Organisation, Management and Liability – A Legal Analysis of New Challenges in the Maritime Industry (Hart 2021).