הפקולטה למשפטים, אוניברסיטת חיפה | كلية الحقوق، جامعة حيفا
Faculty of Law University of Haifa
Law in a Changing World

Marine Resources, Law and Policy Legal Clinic

University of Haifa, Faculty of Law

In October 2011, the Law Faculty launched the new Marine Resources, Law and Policy Legal Clinic. Although young in age, the Clinic's impact has already been noted in the Israeli energy-law field due to the fresh and insightful perspective it had offered to policy makers.

Background: Israel's recent discovery of extensive natural gas volumes along its shores has revolutionized the Israeli energy market. Whereas in the past Israel has been dependent on a closed, monopolistic market, where oil and gas had been imported by only a few companies, today new, exciting options are conceivable: for instance, the self-production of petroleum, or even its export.. As a result, the Israeli energy market is now expected to witness fiercer competition and an enlargement in the volume of local and international transactions. The natural gas discoveries require the constructions of gas transmission and distribution facilities; just as urgently, it requires the establishment of a suitable legal infrastructure to regulate the many dimensions in the production and transport of energy, as a legal framework for facilitating national and international trade.

Marine Resources, Law and Policy Legal Clinic: : The natural gas discoveries in the Israeli coasts introduce a myriad of new legal challenges that the State of Israel will have to address in the coming decades (for example, questions relating to the regulation of the marine resources in the Israeli Exclusive Economic Zone). Israel lacks a comprehensive policy which addresses the social, economic, environmental and legal implications of the gas reservoirs and marine resources. Yet, as of to date, there is no academic research center in Israel, which is devoted to the close examination of these legal challenges and their potential solutions. Likewise, there is an urgent need for qualified lawyers, who are able to address these immense challenges. The Haifa University Faculty of Law established a first-of-its-kind Marine Resources, Law and Policy Legal Clinic. The legal clinic is an interdisciplinary think tank, dedicated to the collection, processing, and assimilation of information pertaining to law-and-energy issues in Israel. The clinic conducts analytical and comparative legal research and produce policy papers.

Potential contribution: There is no doubt that there is a dire need in "post-gas-revolution" Israel for the legal research Institute. To date, most of the information regarding "the gas revolution" originates from either governmental organs or the industry. The legal clinic, which is committed to the highest standards of academic research, will supplement this landscape with academic, credible analyses and recommendations to policy makers and the public at large. The legal research to be conducted clinic will analyze the relevant legal issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, encompassing the economic, political, historical, and sociological vantage points and heeding well the comparative energy-law perspective. This broad outlook will allow the clinic to offer relevant, thoughtful, and educated recommendations regarding the Israeli regulatory regime of the energy sector. The clinic will thus contribute substantially to the exponentially growing Israeli energy field in at least three ways: first, it will offer a vital platform for much-needed, original "blue and white" legal research; second, it will enhance dialogue not only among researchers in different disciplines, but also among scholars, policy maker, and industry; and third, it will introduce first-rate legal practitioners to the field.

Partners: The legal clinic facilitates the ongoing cooperation between the Law Faculty, the Schools of Marine Sciences and the School of Management of the Haifa University. Thanks to this unique cooperation, the clinic will become a focal point of multi-dimensional research of law-and-maritime-energy issues. As such, the clinic will be able to closely study and assess the social, economic, and environmental ramifications of various regulatory models in Israel and elsewhere.