Thematic Network on Arctic Law

 Arctic Law - Ships at the roadstead off Longyearbyen Svalbard
In recent years legal issues in the Arctic have gained special significance as the region is undergoing a huge transformation. This transformation is mainly due to double pressures of economic globalization and climate change, which causes diverse challenges to the existing legal structures functioning in the region. There are plenty of topical issues to deal with. They include: outer continental shelf law in the Arctic Ocean, legal questions related to the opening Arctic seas, rights of Arctic indigenous peoples, biodiversity law, oil and gas related regulations etc.

  1. Sub-group on Indigenous Peoples’ law (Leader: Professor Øyvind Ravna, University of Tromsø)
  2. Sub-group on Oil and Gas Legislation (Leader: Associate Professor Betsy Baker, Vermont School of Law)
  3. Sub-group on Arctic Governance (Leader: Natalia Loukacheva, University of Toronto)

Thematic Network on Arctic Law Website and Blog

To know more about the Thematic Network on Arctic Law, visit our web-pages at
and the Arctic Law Thematic Network Blog at

Overall Goal

  • Building a network of Arctic legal experts.
  • Research cooperation amongst the members of the thematic network.
  • Cooperation with other thematic network in order to undertake multi-disciplinary research projects.
  • Organizing seminars and conferences in order to disseminate Arctic legal questions to the wider audiences.
  • Contribution in the development of legal education focusing on Arctic issues.
  • Taking part in the preparation of joint funding applications along with other members and member institutions of the Thematic Network.

Main Activities

  • Organizing seminars and conferences and in order to disseminate Arctic legal knowledge.
  • Development of legal education programmes, including the masters programme that will commence during 2012 in the Faculty of law of the University of Lapland (where we will organize the specialisation on Arctic law) and helping out in organizing the Polar Law Masters Programme
  • Facilitating the preparation of joint funding applications.

Activities in 2012

  • Organization of conference on the theme: The Network will organize in cooperation with the University of Akureyri, the V Polar Law Symposium between September 6th to 8th 2012 in the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland.
  • Research: Globalization in the Arctic- Legal, political and environmental perspectives. This is a joint research project which we have started with Dr. Lassi Heininen and his thematic network on geopolitics.
  • The sub-group of the TN on oil and gas law lead by Associate Professor Betsy Baker from Vermont Law School and the TN lead Timo Koivurova were invited as special guest editors to the prestigious Carbon and climate law review journal, which is one actions of the Arctic Law TN that will be published during 2012 (in the introduction, we will tell that this is one of the TN activities).
  • Participation in Arctic Council activities: The TN and its members will be used – one way or the other – in two Arctic Council projects: Arctic Ocean Review, phase 2; and Arctic Human Development Report, where Timo Koivurova leads the legal chapter (together with Dr. Nigel Bankes).
  • Participation in other international processes: The TN will try to organize- together with other partners - a side event in the next World Congress of the IUCN, which takes place in September 2012.


Non-UArctic partners:

  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Tilburg University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Giessen
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Victoria
  • University College Cork
  • Vermont Law School

Contact Information

Professor Timo Koivurova, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Finland
Email: timo.koivurova (at)

Vice-leader: Researcher Leena Heinämäki, University of Lapland, Finland
Email: leena.heinamaki (at)

Sub-group leaders:
Øyvind Ravna (UiT): oyvind.ravna(at)
Batsy Baker (VLS):bbaker(at)
Natalia Loukacheva (UT): n.loukacheva(at)

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Thematic Network on Arctic Law Blog