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Arctic Law & Policy

Updated January 8, 2014.
Prepared by Grace Feldman

A globe image of the Arctic

This research guide provides an overview of Arctic Law materials and resources.



The Law of the Sea and the Polar Regions (2013) Table of Contents

Polar Law Textbook (2010)

Polar Law Textbook II (2013)


Articles & Reports

Arctic Research of the United States

United States Arctic Research Commission Annual Report on Goals and Objectives for Arctic Research

U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap

White House National Strategy for the Arctic Region

National Security Presidential Directive 66 (Arctic Region Policy)

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: Impacts of a Warming Arctic

To search for articles, consult one or more of the following databases (under Selected Databases from the Law Library homepage):

  • WestlawNext (available to individual subscribers)
  • Lexis Advance (available to individual subscribers)
  • HeinOnline's Law Journal Library (UW Restricted)
  • LegalTrac (UW Restricted)
  • Lexis Academic (UW Restricted)


Treaties & Conventions

Treaties are agreements between two or more countries. See the Gallagher guide on Treaties & Other International Agreements for more information.

United Nations Charter

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

International Maritime Organization Instruments (IMO)

United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform Agenda 21

The Antarctic Treaty

UNEP Regional Seas Conventions and Protocols (No conventions have yet been developed for Arctic)

Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL) provides primary documents on international law conventions focused on Antarctica and the Arctic here and here



Major laws administered by the National Marine Fisheries Services, Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies

Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984, 15 U.S.C. 4101 et seq.

Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.

Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), 43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq.

Outer Continental ShelfLands Act Amendments of 1978 (OSCLAA), 43 U.S.C. 1801

Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA), 33 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.


U.S. Federal Agencies

US Arctic Research Commission (USARC)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

US Fish & Wildlife Service

National Science Foundation (NSF)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Smithsonian Institution


State Agency


Non-Governmental Organizations  (NGOs) & Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

United Nations

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

International Arctic Research Center (IARC), University of Alaska

Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS)

  • Arctic Council
    • Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


Current Awareness

Arctic Sea Ice Climate Change Indicators

University of Washington Arctic Law and Policy Institute (ALPI)

Alaska Resources Library & Information Services


Related Research Guides

Research guides are useful for identifying key print and online sources

Related Gallagher Guides

U.S. Admiralty & Maritime Law

International Law of the Sea

U.S. Ocean and Coastal Law

Arctic Law Research Guides

US Naval War College guide on Strategic Aspects of Climate Change: Arctic

NATO guide on Arctic Security

EISIL Antarctica & the Arctic

EISIL Antarctica & the Arctic (Polar Regions)

General Arctic Research Guides

US Arctic Research Commission’s Arctic Science Portal

Association of College & Research Libraries guide on Arctic Research

University of Washington guide on Arctic & Northern Studies

Dartmouth guide on Polar Studies


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