The legislative development in Greenland and the Arctic


Legislation in the Danish part of the Arctic is developed through a complex interplay between regulation levels (international, regional, national and local) and is impacted by alternative transnational regulatory prerequisites and regulation regimes.

The development is a result of, among other things, global climate change and the rise of new business opportunities as well as an increasing focus on the rights and traditions of the indigenous population and the need to protect the vulnerable environment. And the development is not least a challenge for the field of jurisprudence. The Arctic is deemed to be an excellent laboratory for illustrating the general impact of globalisation on legislative development.

Read the press release: Greenland and the Arctic are caught in a legal minefield


This INTRAlaw group aims to describe and analyse the interaction that takes place between different forms of regulation: public law, private law and various combinations.  The researchers focus on the different levels of regulation and transnational regulation, which has a strong impact on the public sector (rule formulation, etc.), the private sector (contract formulation, etc.), public-private partnerships and tribe-state partnerships.

Moreover, the group will examine new forms of regulation, including the impact of global business regulation on the formulation of contracts about oil, gas and natural resource investment, exploitation and trade.

The primary focus is on local, national, regional and global legislative development:

  • On a local level, there is an interest in securing the indigenous population’s traditions and rights, including their common rights to the natural resources as well as their affinity with nature. 
  • On a national level, implementing new forms of self-governance is part of a complex process of interaction with the national legal system – including decisions regarding the self-government’s rights and competencies to perform as a subject of law in regional and international regimes.   
  • On a regional level, focus is on the Arctic Council’s rising status in an international legal system, which emphasises the states’ sovereign rights and the EU’s strengthened position in international regimes and interest in the development of the Arctic.
  • On a global level, focus is on various initiatives towards regulation and self-regulation – including the central role that multinational corporations play in the development of contractual terms and conditions on a sustainable basis.

Coordinator: Ellen Margrethe Basse