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