Internship Programme

    Approximately twenty internships are available each year for young government officials or students of law, international relations, public relations, political science, library science and translation. The programme is designed to give participants the opportunity to gain an understanding of the work and functions of the Tribunal and to enable the Tribunal and its members to benefit from the assistance of persons with relevant knowledge and skills in areas within the scope of activities of the Tribunal.

    Participants in the programme are expected to be able to contribute to the work of the Tribunal in fields such as the law of the sea, public international law, international organizations and international relations, political science, public information, publications and library science, and translation.

    Structure of the Programme

    The Tribunal's Internship Programme is normally a full-time programme, although other arrangements are possible.

    Internships usually cover a period of three months, from January to March, April to June, July to September and October to December. In exceptional cases, individual internships may be extended.

    Under supervision, the intern carries out assignments for members of the Tribunal and the Registry.

    Internships are offered in the following departments:

    • Legal Office Interns are expected to carry out research on a variety of legal issues and prepare memoranda and reports for the Legal Office. Interns will be requested to conduct research on a specific topic and give an oral presentation to the Legal Office. They will work with the other interns serving at the Tribunal on the preparation of weekly press reviews.  
    • Library The Library provides research services to the Judges, Registry staff, interns, and external visitors using numerous online databases and maintaining a vast collection of books, loose leafs and journals on the law of the sea, public international law and maritime law.  Interns will assist with daily operations including but not limited to: database maintenance, assistance with research, document processing, records management, copy cataloguing, conducting bibliographic research for collection development, organizing UN Documents; collection maintenance (shelf reading, shelving, inventory).
    • Linguistic Services Since the working languages of the Tribunal are English and French, interns in Linguistic Services should have one of these languages as their mother tongue and an excellent knowledge of the other. Computer literacy is essential and familiarity with translation tools and database management is desirable. Interns are involved with document preparation, referencing and research and other related tasks as required.
    • Press Office Interns in the Press Office are involved in the daily tasks of the Press Office, drafting public relations material, compiling  press coverage reviews, assisting with the organisation of visits and events and putting together presentation material for Registry use.  

    Eligibility Criteria

    The following criteria are used to determine eligibility for the Internship Programme:

    Applicants should:

    1. have completed at least three years of university studies;
    2. normally be engaged in a degree-granting or postgraduate programme at the time of application and also during the internship;
    3. normally not be more than 35 years of age;
    4. have a good command of English and/or French; and
    5. have an interest in international law, in particular international law of the sea, international affairs or international institutions and organizations.

    In the selection of candidates due consideration will be given to geographical diversity and gender balance.

    Application Procedure

    Persons who are interested in participating in the internship programme at the Tribunal in Hamburg should submit a duly completed application form.

    A résumé, with grade transcript or list of courses taken and, if available, a brief sample of research work in English or French, should accompany the application form.

    Incomplete applications will not be considered.

    Applications should be sent to the Tribunal to meet the deadlines below:

    Internship period

    • January to March: application to be submitted by 30 September of previous year
    • April to June: application to be submitted by 31 December of previous year
    • July to September: application to be submitted by 31 March
    • October to December: application to be submitted by 30 June

    Trust Fund for the Law of the Sea

    A “Trust Fund for the Law of the Sea” was established in 2010 and contributions have been made to it by Korwind, a Hamburg-based Korean company, the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. The trust fund is aimed at providing financial assistance to aspiring internship programme participants from developing countries. 

    In addition to the standard requirements for participation in the programme, the following criteria apply in determining eligibility for internship funding:

    (a) applicants must be nationals of a developing country included in the OECD list and should normally be resident in that country; and

    (b) applicants should be in need of financial assistance to help cover the travel and living costs associated with an internship in Hamburg.

    Persons interested in applying for funding for participation in the Tribunal's internship programme should submit the online application form and a covering letter of no more than one page explaining why an internship at the Tribunal is important to the applicant, how it would fit in with the applicant’s academic and career goals and what benefits the applicant expects to derive from the programme.

    Candidates should indicate their intention to apply for funding when they submit their internship application form. Late applications for funding will not be considered.

    Conditions of Internship

    Interns are not paid. The cost of travel and accommodation, as well as living expenses, are the responsibility of interns or their sponsoring institutions, unless funding is awarded from the Trust Fund

    Interns are responsible for obtaining the necessary visas and arranging their travel to and accommodation in Hamburg. An information sheet on temporary accommodation may be obtained from the Internship Coordinator.

    The Tribunal accepts no responsibility for costs arising from accidents and/or illness during an internship. Interns must therefore show proof of valid regular as well as major medical insurance and provide a medical certificate stating that they are in good health.

    Interns must keep confidential any and all unpublished information obtained during the course of the internship and may not publish any reports or papers based on such information even after the completion of the internship, except with the explicit authorization of the Tribunal.


    Upon successful completion of the internship, interns receive a certificate. The certificate will, inter alia, state the period of internship, give examples of the allocated tasks and evaluate the intern's performance.

    Contact Details

    Further information may be obtained from:

    The Internship Coordinator
    International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea 
    Am Internationalen Seegerichtshof 1
    22609 Hamburg

    Tel.: (49) 40 35607-227/181
    Fax: (49) 40 35607-245