Sunday, November 15, 2009

What is maritime law?

This is not so much a cyber law issue, but some people are curious about to what "maritime law" refers. This is a brief answer to their question.

Maritime law, or "admiralty law" as it is also commonly known, is a system of law governing marine commerce. Things such as who has the right to salvage and what their reward will be, proper care of sailors by shipowners, and liens on ships are all covered by maritime law.

Separate or national courts usually always have jurisdiction to hear maritime law cases, rather than them being heard along in the same courts that a traditional lawsuit might be brought. For example, in the United Kingdom, there are designated judges authorized to hear admiralty law cases in the High Court, Queen's Bench Division. In Canada, the Federal Court of Canada deals with maritime law cases, and in the United States, the U.S. Federal Court hears such cases.

For those interested in reading more on the subject of maritime law, I suggest visiting the Admiralty and Maritime Law Guide website. It contains an extensive database of information on the subject of admiralty law.

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