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What You Need to Know About Admiralty Law

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What You Should Know About Maritime Law and Injuries | Lapeze & Johns

Admiralty law combines international and United States laws to govern activities on the high seas. Congress creates laws governing commerce between the United States and other countries. If you are in the business of selling, purchasing, or transporting goods, you should become familiar with the admiralty law Honolulu HI and its different applications. The article will discuss the main types of admiralty law and how the laws affect business.

United States Law and International Law

Admiralty law is a subset of maritime law, which consists of the rules that govern activities in navigable waters. Historically, the law centered on oceanic issues but has since expanded to cover public bodies of water. This type of maritime law typically involves disputes between two or more ships and primarily affects the rights of crew members. The definitions and specialized rules for admiralty cases vary among jurisdictions, so you must familiarize yourself with this complex area of law.

The U.S. Coast Guard enforces federal maritime laws on the seas. Because of this, a person may be sued for maritime-related issues. Typically, these cases involve disputes over ocean bills of lading and charter parties. These cases are particularly complex and require knowledge of both international and United States laws. If you have an admiralty case, contact a skilled professional today.

Governs Activities on the High Seas

French Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, also known as Eleanor of Guyenne, learned about admiralty law during a crusade in the eastern Mediterranean in the early seventeenth century. She brought this law back to England and instituted it in 1617 on the island of Oleron. Her reform of the maritime law led to the creation of the United States Bill of Rights.

Admiralty law regulates activities on the high seas. Admiralty law is a combination of domestic and international law. Maritime accidents and torts can fall under this branch of law. Although admiralty cases are generally heard in federal district courts, they can also be heard in state courts. The courts apply special rules in admiralty cases. 

Regulates Commerce Between the United States and Foreign Countries

Admiralty law is a public international maritime law branch that governs commerce between nations and their shipping interests in the ocean. It primarily concerns navigational rights, maritime relationships, and jurisdiction over coastal waters. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was signed by 119 countries on Dec. 10, 1982. It defines maritime commerce’s rules and who can do business.

Admiralty courts are separate from state courts, but they must apply maritime law in admiralty cases involving foreign vessels. While admiralty courts must apply federal law in cases involving foreign vessels, state courts may also apply procedural laws. In international trade cases, the United States courts must follow the rules of the foreign country where the vessel is registered. The jurisdiction of admiralty courts extends beyond maritime disputes and includes a wide range of activities in unfamiliar waters.

Congress Enacts It

The federal government is granted the power to enact laws concerning the maritime industry through the admiralty and maritime powers of the Constitution. These powers are defined in the Necessary and Proper Clause. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the power to fix maritime laws, which they do through the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The naval forces of the United States government are regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard and are subject to Congressional approval.

Maritime jurisdiction includes cases involving acts on the high seas, such as accidents or crimes. Admiralty law also has contracts with shipping companies. Cases involving prize cases, injuries, and torts committed on the high seas fall into this category. However, the jurisdiction in the first category depends on where the act occurred. In other words, if a ship is sinking in the ocean, it is not the shipowner’s responsibility to pay for the damages to the ship.

A Dying Field in the 21st Century

Some people believe that admiralty law and maritime law are dying fields in the 21st century. However, that idea is not entirely accurate. Many RWU Law alumni say marine law and admiralty law will continue to be vitally important fields for the foreseeable future. One such RWU Law alumnus is Adam Deitz ’14, who works at Freehill Hogan & Mahar in Manhattan. He specializes in maritime law and settled law, meaning he has to be well-versed in a wide range of fields to succeed in his work.

Unlike many other fields, admiralty law focuses on the maritime world and is often confused with the direction of the sea. The law of the sea is a public international law that deals with maritime issues such as navigational rights, mineral rights, jurisdiction over coastal waters, and naval relationships between nations. Many modern laws trace their origins back to the ancient mariners who navigated the oceans. As nations developed into more sophisticated political entities, maritime law also grew in complexity and involvement.