Keyuan Zou profile


Keyuan Zou is a Harris Professor of International Law at Lancashire Law School and Director at the Institute for International and Comparative Law University of Central Lancashire. His research and influence have played a key role in matters regarding International Law of the Sea and International Environmental Law for over three decades.

Prof Keyuan Zou

Since joining UCLan in 2007, Prof Zou has published ten books, 27 refereed journal articles and 35 book chapters.

A prolific member of editorial and advisory boards of international journals, Prof Zou is the co-Editor-in-Chief of two book series: Contemporary Issues in the South China Sea (Routledge) and Maritime Cooperation in East Asia (Brill). He is a peer reviewer for various funding institutions both in the UK and abroad, including Canada and Belgium, as well as for publishers such as Brill and Routledge and various international refereed journals.

Prof Zou is also an academic adviser for the China National Institute for South China Sea Studies and Shanghai Jiaotong University Centre for Oceans Law and Policy, among others.

Four PhD students have completed their studies under Prof Zou as Director of Studies, and he also joins supervisory teams for other PhD students and acts as an internal and external PhD examiner.

Research and authority

Prof Zou is a world-renowned authority in the international law of the sea with special reference to East Asia, and as such his opinions and knowledge are in high demand by organisations such as the International Seabed Authority as well as governments such as Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3. Chatham House: International Seminar on “Issues Associated with the Implementation of Article 82 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”, organised by the International Seabed Authority, Chatham House, London, 11-13 February 2009.

Prof Zou has also been interviewed by some of the world’s leading media, including the BBC, China Daily and Bloomberg.  He regularly speaks at important international conferences, including those arranged by prominent institutions such as the Korean Maritime Institute, the US National Committee on US-China Relations, and the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

6. Nanjing: TV interview during the Nanjing Forum: Working Together for the 21st Century Asia-Pacific Peace, Security and Prosperity, organized by Nanjing University and the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies, Nanjing, China, 19-21 October 2015.

His article ‘New Developments in the International Law of Piracy’ (2009) is identified as a most cited article for Chinese Journal of International Law.

Beyond academia

Prof Zou’s research outputs are often used before the International Court of Justice or international arbitral tribunals, national governments and other non-academic institutions. It is remarkable and unprecedented for a legal scholar that five of Prof Zou’s articles are used in the South China Sea Arbitration case (Philippines v. China) (2013-2016).

Governments also rely on his research. The Romanian government cited an article by Prof Zou on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in East Asia before the International Court of Justice, while another article was cited in an arbitration case between Mauritius and the UK. Prof Zou’s research has also informed Limits in the Seas of the Department of State of the USA, among other national policies, and he has been invited to a number of workshops, dialogues and forums to inform policy and facilitate diplomatic relations.

1. EAP: East Asian Peace Programme First Annual Conference “Democracy and Peace in East Asia”, organized by the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, 16-18 September 2011


Prof Zou’s expertise extends beyond the law school. He collaborates closely with think-tanks such as the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China, which jointly funded a couple of international conferences on maritime issues held at UCLan.

Preston: International Workshop on “Maritime Cooperation in Semi-Enclosed Seas: Asian and European Experiences”, jointly organized by the Lancashire Law School, University of Central Lancashire, UK and the National Collaborative Centre for South China Sea Studies, Nanjing University, China, 23-24 September 2014, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Prof Zou has collaborated with the Confucius Institute and International Institute for Korean Studies (including PhD supervision). He has also organised international conferences in collaboration with the Confucius Institute, with great success.

Prof Zou was also instrumental in securing funding from various sources for events to be held in Preston. These included the International Workshop on Maritime Peace in East Asia (April 2012), an international workshop on “Maritime Cooperation in Semi-Enclosed Seas: Asian and European Experiences” (September 2014), and an international Symposium on “Maritime Silk Road: Challenges and Opportunities for Asia and Europe” (May 2017).

ASEAN-China: Co-Chair, ASEAN-China Working Group on Legal Principles on the Maritime Domain, 2nd Conference of Partnership for Regional Peace: Operationalizing ASEAN-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in Southeast Asia, jointly organized by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta, and National Institute for South China Sea Studies, Haikou, China, 18-19 January 2016.

He is the recipient of two prestigious international awards: Izaak Walton Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, Canada, 1990; and Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Germany, 1996.

Read more about Prof Zou’s research on CLoK.