As the name suggests, the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM) specializes in environmental and minority law. Particularly, it has a special focus on researching the law relating to (Arctic) indigenous peoples, as well as environmental law as it is applied in the Arctic regions. The Institute also provides its expertise to the Advisory Board on International Human Rights Affairs, an independent consultative organization on human rights issues, appointed by the Government of Finland.
Established in 1985, the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law is led by Research Professor Dr Kamrul Hossain and has a staff of some 10 researchers. The Institute is responsible for Arctic Law and Governance specialization within the Master Programme of International and Comparative Law at the University of Lapland, and it leads the Arctic Law Thematic Network of the University of the Arctic.