Harry & Jane Scheiber Lecture in Ocean Law & Policy

The lecture series recognizes the influential scholarship of Harry N. Scheiber in ocean law history and policy and the Scheibers’ joint contributions to advancing the subject through the Law of the Sea Institute’s conferences and publications.


Spring 2022 Scheiber Lecture 
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The Law of the Sea and Democracy by Tom Ginsburg

Thursday, March 10
12:45 PM PT

Lecture & Webinar 12:45 – 2pm in Berkeley Law School Room 105 (Limit 50 physical seats)
Reception 2 – 3pm in Steinhart Courtyard (Limit 50 attendees)

The law of the sea is not an area of international law that one associates with democracy. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is one of the worlds most broadly acceded-to and effective treaties, incorporating all kinds of states. The central cleavages among these states—coastal vs. maritime powers, developing countries vs. industrialized nations, landlocked vs. those with access to the seas—have only coincidental links with the global division of democracy and dictatorship. Yet, this lecture will argue, the law of the sea has surprising connections with democracy, in that democratic states are enthusiastic users of the UNCLOS system. Furthermore, the oceans, so long thought of as a zone free of national jurisdiction, are increasingly an arena for domestic struggles within democratic countries. The availability of the seas as a space for democratic contestation is shaped by the institutional structures of UNCLOS.


Tom Ginsburg

Tom Ginsburg is the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, where he also holds an appointment in the Political Science Department. He is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation. He holds B.A., J.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley, and currently co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, an NSF-funded data set cataloging the world’s constitutions since 1789, that runs the award-winning Constitute website. Finally, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Accessibility Coordinator Jenny Boyden at jboyden@law.berkeley.edu or 510-664-4959 with as much advance notice as possible (at least 7-10 days)


Past Honorees