Aldo Chircop

Professor of Law

Phone: 902-494-1007
Mailing Address: 
Room 437, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Ave
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Arctic shipping
  • Canadian maritime law
  • International maritime law
  • International law of the sea
  • Ocean law and policy


  • LLD (Malta)
  • LLM (Dalhousie)
  • JSD (Dalhousie)

Bar admissions

  • Nova Scotia

Research grants

  • Uniformity and Diversity in Shipping Regulation: Reconciling General and Particular Interests in Canadian and International Maritime Law. SSHRC.
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, Navigating Arctic Waters: Polar Code & Beyond. SSHRC.
  • Safe Navigation and Environment Protection, Module N, Ocean Frontier Institute for Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
  • Regulating shipping in Russian Arctic Waters: Between international law, national interests and geopolitics (SIRAW). UiT the Arctic University of Norway and Research Council of Norway.
  • Law and Governance in the Arctic: Environmental and Climate Change Considerations. Centre for International Governance Innovation and University of Copenhagen.
  • Future Ocean and Coastal Infrastructures (FOCI): Designing Safe, Sustainable, and Inclusive Coastal Communities and Industries for Atlantic Canada.
  • Demystifying Maritime Governance: Analysis of the frameworks and emerging issues for the governance of shipping in Canada. Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Shipping.

Recently completed

  • First Canadian-Japanese Scholarly Exchange on the Law of the Sea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
  • Regulating Maritime Occupational Health and safety in the Canadian Arctic Gateway: Regulatory Divergence or Convergence between the Shipping and Fishing Sectors.
  • The Leverhulme Trust, UK, International Network Grant for a project entitled “Project on Indeterminate and Changing Environments: Law, the Anthropocene, and the World (the ICE LAW Project)”.

Cross-appointments & affiliations

  • Marine Affairs Program, Faculty of Science, Dalhousie University, International Development Studies Program, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Centre for the Study of Security and Development, Department of Political Science
  • Member, Canadian Transportation Research Forum 
  • Member, Canadian Maritime Law Association 
  • Member, Nova Scotia Barristers' Society
  • Member, American Society of International Law
  • Member, Canadian Council on International Law
  • Visiting Professor, Dalian Maritime University, China
  • Advisory Board member, Brill Research Paper Series
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of International Maritime Law
  • Editorial Board Member, Brazilian Yearbook of the International Law of the Sea 
  • Researcher, Ocean Frontier Institute


Areas of supervision
Canadian Maritime Law, International Maritime Law, International Law of the Sea, Arctic Shipping

Research interests

Dr Chircop's principal areas of research are in Canadian maritime law, international maritime law and international law of the sea. In particular, his maritime research focuses on the international regulation of shipping in polar regions, especially in the Arctic. He is Chair of the Comité Maritime International’s International Working Group on Polar Shipping. His previous positions included directorships of the Marine & Environmental Law Institute (MELAW), Marine Affairs Program (MAP), International Ocean Institute (IOI) and the Mediterranean Institute at the University of Malta. Dr Chircop was also Canadian Chair in Marine Environment Protection at the IMO's World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden. Dr. Chircop has published extensively in Canada and overseas.

Selected awards & honours

Selected publications


Journal editorship

  • Co-editor, Ocean Yearbook (Volumes 13-34)
  • Guest editor, special Issue on the Implementation of the Polar Code in the Arctic.” 24(6) Journal of International Maritime Law.

Recent book chapters

  • A. Chircop (2020). “Obligations of Flag States in Exclusive Economic Zones.” In Øystein Jensen (ed), The Development of the Law of the Sea by the International Judiciary. Elgar. 139-167
  • A. Chircop (2020). “Implementation of UNCLOS Article 82 in Canada and Implications of Adjacency to the Area.” In C. Banet, ed., The Law of the Seabed. Nijhoff. 371-396. (open access).
  • A. Chircop and D. Shan, (2020). “Governance of International Shipping in the Era of Decarbonisation:  New Challenges for the IMO?” In P.K. Mukherjee (ed), Maritime Law in Motion. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Publishing. 97-113.
  • A. Chircop (2019). “Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships in International Law: New Challenges for the Regulation of International Navigation and Shipping.” In M. Nordquist et al (eds), Cooperation and Engagement in the Asia Pacific Region. Leiden: Brill. 18-31.
  • A. Chircop (2019). “The Quest for Universality and Uniformity: Theory and Practice of International Maritime Regulation.” In J. Chua (ed), Research Handbook in Maritime Law. Edward Elgar. 116-147.
  • A. Chircop (2018). “The Use of IMO Instruments for Marine Conservation on the High Seas.” In R. Beckman et al (eds), High Seas Governance: Gaps and Challenges. Brill. 126-178.
  • A. Chircop (2018). “IMO’s Work on Environmental Protection and Global Ocean Governance.” In D. Attard, ed., The IMLI Handbook on Ocean Governance. Oxford University Press. 172-204.
  • A. Chircop (2017). “The IMO, its Role under UNCLOS and its Polar Shipping Regulation.” In R.  Beckman et al., eds., Governance of Arctic Shipping - Balancing Rights and Interests of Arctic States and User States. Brill Nijhoff. 107-143.
  • A. Chircop (2017). “Article 82: Payments and Contributions with Respect to the Exploitation of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles.” In A. Proelβ, ed., The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: A Commentary. C.H. Beck & Hart Publishing. 641-651.
  • A. Chircop (2015). “Assistance at Sea and Places of Refuge for Ships: Reconciling Competing Norms”. In H. Rinkbom, ed., Jurisdiction Over Ships: Post-UNCLOS Developments in the Law of the Sea. Brill Nijhoff. 150-163.
  • A. Chircop (2015). “The International Maritime Organization”. In D.R. Rothwell, A. Oude Elferink, K.N. Scott & T. Stephens, eds., Oxford Handbook on the Law of the Sea. Oxford University Press. 416-438.
  • A. Chircop (2014).  “International Shipping in the Arctic Region: Confronting Legal Uncertainty.” In J. Schelin, ed., Shipping & Environment: A Legal Perspective. Poseidon Förlag. 1-33.

Recent articles

  • A. Chircop and M. Czarski (2020). “Polar Code Implementation in the Arctic Five States: Has Legislative Harmonization Recommended by AMSA Been Achieved?” Polar Journal.
  •  A. Chircop (2020). “The Polar Code and the Arctic Marine Environment: Assessing the Regulation of the Environmental Risks of Shipping.”  Journal of International Marine and Coastal Law 35: 533–569.
  • A. Chircop (2019). “Decarbonization of Shipping: What Role for Technology Development and Transfer in the IMO GHG Strategy?” (4) Zeitschrift für europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht (Journal of European and Environmental Planning Law), 462-470.
  • M. Doelle & A. Chircop (2019). “Decarbonizing International Shipping: An Appraisal of the IMO’s Initial Strategy.” Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law DOI: 10.1111/reel.12302.
  • A. Chircop (2019). “The IMO Initial Strategy for the Reduction of GHGs from International Shipping: A Commentary.” 34 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 1–31.
  • A. Chircop, T Koivurova & Krittika Singh (2019). “Is there a Relationship between UNDRIP and UNCLOS?” 33 Ocean Yearbook 90-130.
  • A. Chircop (2018). “Canada and the Polar Code: Balancing Unilateralism and Multilateralism in the Regulation of Arctic Shipping.” LI/2 Revue Belge de droit international 380-404.
  • A. Chircop (2018). “Introduction to the Special Issue on the Implementation of the Polar Code in the Arctic.” 24(6) Journal of International Maritime Law 411-412.
  • A. Chircop, P. Pamel & M. Czarski (2018). “Canada’s Implementation of the Polar Code.” 24(6) Journal of International Maritime Law 428-450.
  • Aporta, S. C. Kane & A. Chircop (2018). “Shipping Corridors through the Inuit Homeland.” Limn Issue 10 <>.
  • A. Chircop (2018). “Testing International Legal Regimes: The Advent of Automated Commercial Vessels.” 60 German Yearbook of International Law 1-31.
  • A. Chircop (2017). “The Arctic and Ongoing Polar Shipping Regulation.” Editorial. 23 Journal of International Maritime Law 321-323.
  • A. Chircop (2016). “Sustainable Arctic Shipping: Are Current International Rules for Polar Shipping Sufficient?” 11 Journal of Ocean Technology 39-52.
  • A. Chircop (2016). “Jurisdiction over Ice-covered Areas and the Polar Code: An Emerging Symbiotic Relationship?” 22 Journal of International Maritime Law 1-16.
  • A. Chircop & P. L’Esperance (2016). “Functional Interactions and Regulatory Prerogatives: The Mutual Accommodation of Offshore Windfarms and International Navigation and Shipping.” 30 Ocean Yearbook 439-487.
  • A. Chircop, D. Dzidzornu & C. Oguamanam (2016). “Ocean Law Reform: A Multi-Level Comparative Law Analysis of Nigerian Maritime Zone Legislation”. 67 Marine Policy 60-75.
  • A. Chircop (2015). “The International Regulation of Arctic Shipping: Emerging Standards and Remaining Gaps”. 34 Pacific Rim: Economics, Politics, Law Journal 72-81.
  • A. Chircop (2014). “Regulatory Challenges for International Arctic Navigation and Shipping in an Evolving Governance Environment”. 28 Ocean Yearbook 269-290.

Service & activity

  • Chair, International Working Group on Polar Shipping, Comité Maritime International, Belgium
  • Member, Conseil Scientifique, Institut Universitaire de la Mer, Brest, France
  • Member, Research Advisory Committee, Clear Seas, Vancouver