Introduction to Maritime Law
Maritime Law, branch of law relating to commerce and navigation on the high seas and on other navigable waters. Specifically, the term refers to the body of customs, legislation, international treaties, and court decisions pertaining to ownership and operation of vessels, transportation of passengers and cargo on them, and rights and obligations of their crews while in transit.
The origins of maritime law go back to antiquity. Because no country has jurisdiction over the seas, it has been necessary for nations to reach agreements regarding ways of dealing with ships, crews, and cargoes when disputes arise. The earliest agreements were probably based on a body of ancient customs that had developed as practical solutions to common problems. Many of these customs became part of Roman civil law. After the fall of the Roman Empire, maritime commerce was disrupted for about 500 years.
After maritime activity was resumed in the Middle Ages, various disputes arose and laws were formulated to deal with them. Gradually the laws of the sea were compiled; among the best-known collections of early maritime law are the Laws of Oleron and the Black Book of the Admiralty, an English compilation prepared during the 14th and 15th centuries. Special courts to administer sea laws were set up in some countries. In Britain today, maritime law is administered by courts of the admiralty.
In the United States
About provisions in the U.S. Constitution and other U.S. legislation and practice, see maritime law in the U.S..
The Scope of Maritime Law
Liability for common-law wrongs is enforced by the maritime law of the United States and the United Kingdom (see Maritime Law in England and Wales, Common Law and Tort). Maritime torts include all illegal acts or direct injuries arising in connection with commerce and navigation occurring on navigable waters, including negligence and the wrongful taking of property. The law permits recovery only for actual damages. Maritime law also recognizes and enforces contracts and awards damages for failure to fulfill them.
The adjustment of the rights of the parties to a maritime venture in accordance with the principles of general average, which pertain to the apportioning of loss of cargo, is also an important function of maritime courts, and the doctrines pertaining to general average are among the most important of the maritime law. The British admiralty courts have acquired jurisdiction by statute over crimes committed on the high seas outside the territorial waters of the United Kingdom. Similar jurisdiction has been conferred by Congress on the U.S. federal district courts. International agreements have been made to handle the problems of safety at sea, pollution control, salvage, rules for preventing collisions, and coordination of shipping regulations.
International Ocean Law
Some aspects of ocean law affect relationships among nations. Issues of neutrality and belligerency that occur in wartime are dealt with in international law. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, adopted in 1982 but not yet in force, addresses ocean law issues, including rights of navigation and overflight, fishing, marine scientific research, seabed minerals development, and marine environmental protection. It allows each coastal nation to exercise sovereignty over a territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles (22 km/14 mi) wide and jurisdiction over resources, scientific research, and environmental protection in an exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles (370 km/230 mi) offshore; beyond this zone, seabed minerals development will be regulated by an international body. The U.S. has not signed the accord because it objects to the system for minerals development in the international seabed, but it has generally endorsed all other provisions of the convention.
Main Source: “Maritime Law,”Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
International Maritime Organization
Freedom of the Seas
List of Maritime Law Online Journals
Maritime Insurance, Historical
Convention (X) for the Adaption to Maritime War of the Principles of the Geneva Convention (5.8)
Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Marine and Coastal conventions
Convention on the High Seas
International Convention for the High Seas Fisheries of the Pacific Ocean
Embracing mainstream international law, this section on maritime law explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.
This entry provides an overview of the legal framework of maritime law, with a description of the most significant features of maritime law at international level.
Related Work and Conclusions
- Rule of Law
- Law System
- Admiralty – Torts – In Noncollision Cases Contribution Will Lie Where No Countervailing Considerations Detract From The Maritime Rule Allowing Contribution Between Joint Tortfeasors, Richard H. Siegel, Stephen O. Spinks, Jul 2016
- Environmental Protection By Coastal States: The Paradigm From Marine Transport Of Petroleum, Joseph C. Sweeny, Jun 2016
- A Wide Berth For Frcp 52: Application Of The Clearly Erroneous Standard Of Review In The Admiralty Law Context, Emma Nitzberg, May 2016
- Newsroom: Strong Finish For Admiralty Team In Sfo 03-07-2016, Roger Williams University School Of Law, Mar 2016
- Existing Conventions And Unmanned Ships – Need For Changes?, Tomotsugu Noma, Jan 2016
- China’s Nine-Dashed Map: Continuing Maritime Source Of Geopolitical Tension, Bert Chapman, Sep 2015
- The entry “maritime law” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press
admiralty; blockade; piracy; privateering; seas, freedom of the; London, Declaration of; Paris, Declaration of. sea, law of the. H. Reiff, The United States and the Treaty Law of the Sea (1959); R. P. Anand, The Origin and Development of the Law of the Sea (1983); R. R. Churchill and A. V. Lowe, The Law of the Sea (2d ed. 1988).
Further Reading (Articles)
Reconsidering the Maritime Laws of Finds and Salvage: A Free Market Alternative, The George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics; January 1, 1996; Hawkins, Jance R
Judge: Plane that struck city neighborhood subject to maritime laws, AP Worldstream; May 10, 2006; LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer
Legal talk: big changes to maritime laws?(At AGlance)(Column), Workboat; September 1, 2010; Fulweiler, John K.
BILL AMENDS OUTDATED MARITIME LAWS, PROVIDES JUSTICE FOR DISASTER VICTIMS., States News Service; January 27, 2011
Maritime Laws Protecting Bp, Not Gulf Coast Residents, States News Service; May 27, 2010
Admiralty and maritime laws in the Mediterranean Sea (ca. 800-1050); the Kitab Akriyat al-Sufun vis-a-vis the Nomos Rhodion Nautikos.(Brief article)(Book review), Reference & Research Book News; November 1, 2006
Admiralty and Maritime Law Articles Published in Non-Maritime Law Journals (2005), Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce; October 1, 2006; Percy, H Kumar Oberlin, Melanie
MARITIME LAWS TO BE FINALIZED BY NEXT YEAR, Info-Prod Research (Middle East); November 7, 2002
JORDAN: MARITIME LAWS TO BE FINALIZED BY NEXT YEAR.(Brief Article), Info-Prod Research (Middle East); November 7, 2002
Reviewing Recent Developments in Chinese Maritime Law, Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce; July 1, 2010; Luo, Huijie
The Draft Turkish Maritime Law, Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce; October 1, 2005; Karan, Hakan
Maritime Law Expert Dr. Jose Eusebio Salgado Y Salgado (Mexico) to Be Awarded 2013 International Maritime Prize Council, 112th Session, 16-19 June, 2014, States News Service; June 19, 2014
Admirality Judges: Flotsam on the Sea of Maritime Law?, Houston Journal of International Law; January 1, 2003; Brown, John R.
Korean Maritime Law Update: 2007- Focused on the Revised Maritime Law Section in the Korean Commercial Code, Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce; July 1, 2008; Anonymous
FM Clarifies Content of Vietnam Maritime Law, States News Service; June 26, 2012
Islamic Maritime Law: An Introduction, The Journal of the American Oriental Society; April 1, 2000; Hallaq, Wael B
Admiralty and Maritime Law Articles Published in Non-Martime Law Journals (2004), Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce; July 1, 2005; Percy, H Kumar
Islamic Maritime Law: An Introduction.(Review), The Journal of the American Oriental Society; April 1, 2000; HALLAQ, WAEL B.
Turkish Maritime Law Update: 2006, Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce; July 1, 2007; Karan, Hakan
Squire Sanders Continues Its New York Growth With New Maritime Law Practice., Science Letter; August 19, 2008
Introduction to Maritime Law
Maritime Law, branch of law relating to commerce and navigation on the high seas and on other navigable waters. Specifically, the term refers to the body of customs, legislation, international treaties, and court decisions pertaining to ownership and operation of vessels, transportation of passengers and cargo on them, and rights and obligations of their crews while in transit.” (1)
Notes and References
- Information about Maritime Law in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
Guide to Maritime Law
The Legal History of Maritime Law
This section provides an overview of Maritime Law
- Legal Biography
- Legal Traditions
- Historical Laws
- History of Law
- Maritime Law in the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History (Oxford University Press)
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History (Oxford University Press)
- Maritime Law in the Dictionary of Concepts in History, by Harry Ritter
- A Short History of Western Legal Theory, by John Kelly
Spanish Translation of maritime law
This is the legal translation of English to Spanish in relation to maritime law and / or a definition of this topic: Derecho Marítimo (in Spanish, without translation of the dictionary entry).
Hierarchical Display of Maritime law
Transport > Maritime and inland waterway transport > Maritime transport
Law > International law > Public international law > Law of the sea
Law > International law > Public international law
Transport > Transport policy > Transport policy > Transport law
Law > International law > Public international law > Law of the sea > Freedom of navigation
Concept of Maritime law
Characteristics of Maritime law
Translation of Maritime law
- Spanish: Derecho marítimo
- French: Droit maritime
- German: Seeschifffahrtsrecht
- Italian: Diritto marittimo
- Portuguese: Direito marítimo
- Polish: Prawo morskie
Thesaurus of Maritime law
Transport > Maritime and inland waterway transport > Maritime transport > Maritime law
Law > International law > Public international law > Law of the sea > Maritime law
Law > International law > Public international law > Maritime law
Transport > Transport policy > Transport policy > Transport law > Maritime law
Law > International law > Public international law > Law of the sea > Freedom of navigation > Maritime law
- Law of the sea
- Maritime area
- Maritime surveillance
- Territorial waters
- Exclusive economic zone
- Contiguous zone
- Freedom of the seas
- Freedom of navigation
- Public international law
- Law of the sea
- Territorial law
- Free movement of persons
- International responsibility
- Mutual assistance
- Recognition of a state
- Air law
- Law of outer space
- National sovereignty
- Law of states
- Succession of states
- Transport law
- Freedom of navigation