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.

Topical issues related to Arctic Law 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

Thematic Network's operation has been divided into the following sub-groups, dealing with specific issue areas:

  • Sub-group on Indigenous Peoples’ law
  • Sub-group on Oil and Gas Legislation
  • Sub-group on Arctic Governance

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.
  • Facilitating the preparation of joint funding applications.

Current and Planned Activities

  • Ice Law Project: This project seeks to investigate the potential for a legal framework that acknowledges the complex geophysical environment in the world’s frozen regions and explores the impact that an ice-sensitive legal system would have on topics ranging from the everyday activities of Arctic residents to the territorial foundations of the modern state.
  • 7th Polar Law Symposium

Past Activities

  • Protecting the Sacred: This conference brings together scientists, sacred natural sites custodians, Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, policy makers, conservation and civil society leaders, to evaluate options for international and national law, policy and practice in order to better recognize, safeguard, conserve and manage Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) of Indigenous Peoples in Northern and Arctic regions.