Admiralty law and maritime law are virtually synonymous and are concerned with commerce and navigation over navigable inland waters and the oceans. It includes the law of ships, carriage of goods, harbors, masters, seamen, contracts, marine insurance, salvages, cargo, liens and municipal seizure, marine bankruptcy of ships, etc. Maritime law traces its origins to the ancient maritime countries of the Mediterranean Sea. The United States maritime law is based on British maritime law with the main difference being that the United States extends its jurisdiction to inland navigable waters. The source of admiralty law is an individual country. Law of the sea is international law that governs the behavior of countries with each other with regards to such things as marine pollution. This guide is a selective overview of resources in the Law Library. It does not include materials that are not held by the Law Library or serial publications that are no longer being published. For more resources check Baron, our online catalog, or ask a librarian.
Last Updated: Mar. 24, 2016. AJB; Updated May 2013. VT.
For a general introduction to the field consider consulting a preeminent treatise such as:
- Benedict on Admiralty, by Elijah E. Jhirad & Alexander Sann, 7th Ed. Treatise Collection, KF1104.B4 1974 and Lexis
- Schoenbaum's Admiralty and Maritime Law. Treatise Collection, KF1104.S36 2011 & Westlaw.
Periodicals and Books are also a good place to start.
The following list of U.S. statutes was mostly taken from Admiralty/Maritime Law University of Iowa College of Law Library:
- Admiralty Jurisdiction Act, 46 U.S.C. §30101, Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 46 U.S.C. §30701 et seq., Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Death on the High Seas Act, 46 U.S.C. §30301 et seq., Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Financial Responsibility for the Death or Injury to Passengers and for Nonperformance of Voyage, 46 U.S.C. §§44101-44106, Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988, 46 U.S.C. §§42301-42307, Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Jones Act (Merchant Marine), 46 U.S.C. §50101 et seq., Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 U.S.C. §901 et seq, Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Merchant Marine Act, Section 19, 46 U.S.C. §§42101-42109, Westlaw, & Lexis.
- Shipping Act of 1984, 46 U.S.C. §§40101-41309, Westlaw, & Lexis.
The following procedural rules apply in admiralty cases:
- Rules of Civil Procedure, Reserve Collection & Treatise Collection, KF8820.A192 U55
- Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims are applied in admiralty cases
Florida Rules of Court: Federal, Reserve Collection, Reference Collection, & Florida Collection, KFF529.A24
Relevant sections of the Code of Federal Regulations include:
- Title 29: "Labor," Chapter XVII, pts. 1915-1922 (covering Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring, Marine Terminals, Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Shipyard Employment, and Harbor Worker's Compensation Act)
- Title 46: "Shipping"
Conventions & Agreements
Case Law Research
There are several excellent places to begin including, but are not limited to, the following:
- American Law Reports - contains annotations of cases from many courts. Search the ALR Quick Index or Index for the term "admiralty" and related terms. Core A, Lexis, Westlaw
- American Maritime Cases (1924-current) - an unofficial reporter of federal, state, and important arbitration decisions as well as selected reports from Canadian, British, and European Courts. It contains a comprehensive index and a series of digests.
- Lloyd's Law Reports (1968-current) - contains British admiralty cases, most useful when no U.S. precedent has been set on a legal issue, or when there are contrary state court proceedings dealing with the same issue of law.
- Benedict's Maritime Bulletin
- International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
- Journal of Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly
- Loyola Maritime Law Journal
- Ocean Development and International Law: The Journal of Marine Affairs
- Tulane Maritime Law Journal
- University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal
For more information on finding periodicals by subject, see the List of Indexes to Periodicals.
- Admiralty & Maritime Law Guide (contains an extensive list of relevant organizations including Courts, Associations, U.S. Government, International, Maritime Industry, and Education).
- ABA, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Admiralty and Maritime Committee
- Comite Maritime International
- Florida Bar Association Standing Committee on Admiralty Law
- International Bar Association Maritime and Transport Law Committee
- International Maritime Organization
- Maritime Law Association of the United States
- Society of Maritime Arbitrators
- United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
- United States Department of Transportation Maritime Administration
- United States Federal Maritime Commission
Select Books From the UM Law Library
- Law of Seamen, 3rd Ed., by Robert Force & Martin J. Norris, (2003- current). Westlaw.
- Criminal Jurisdiction Over Perpetrators of Ship-Source Pollution: International Law, State Practice and EU Harmonization, by Alla Pozdnakova (2013).
- Maritime Piracy and the Construction of Global Governance, (Michael J. Struett, Jon D. Carlson, & Mark T. Nance eds. 2013).
- Piracy and International Maritime Crimes in ASEAN: Prospects for Cooperation, (R.C. Beckman & J.A. Roach ed. 2012).
- Piracy in Comparative Perspective: Problems, Strategies, Law, (Charles H. Norchi & Gwenaële Proutière-Maulion eds. 2012).
- Places of Refuge for Ships in Distress: Problems and Methods of Resolution, by Anthony P. Morrison (2012).
- Regulation of International Shipping: International and Comparative Perspectives: Essays in Honor of Edgar Gold, (Aldo Chircop ed. 2012).
- Research Handbook on the Economics of Corporate Law, (Claire A. Hill & Brett H. McDonnell eds. 2012).
- Shipowners' Limitation of Liability, (Barnabas W.B. Reynolds & Michael N. Tsimplis eds. 2012).
- The Arrest of Ships in Private International Law, by Veronica Ruiz Abou-Nigm (2011).
- Admiralty in a Nutshell, 6th Ed., by Frank L. Maraist, Thomas C. Galligan, Jr., & Catherine M. Maraist (2010).
- Carriage of Goods by Sea Under the Rotterdam Rules, (D. Rhidian Thomas ed. 2010).
- New Convention for the Carriage of Goods by Sea - The Rotterdam Rules: An Analysis of the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, (D. Rhidian Thomas ed. 2009).
- Marine Cargo Claims, by William Tetley (2008).
- Law of Maritime Personal Injuries, 5th Ed., (Robert Force and Martin J. Norris eds. 2004). Westlaw.
- Maritime Affairs Dictionary: Terms, Concepts, Laws, Court Cases, and International Conventions and Agreements, by Niels West (2004).
- Law of Admiralty, by Grant Gilmore & Charles L. Black, Jr. (1975).
In addition, sets many legal researchers are already familiar with such as American Jurisprudence 2d., Corpus Juris Secundum, Moore's Federal Practice, and West's Federal Forms will also have relevant results when looking in the indexes under keywords such as "admiralty," "shipping," and "maritime liens."
Other Research Guides
Specialized Legal Research by Penny A. Hazelton contains a chapter on "Admiralty and Maritime Law" by Sarah K. Wiant. This chapter includes a brief history of admiralty law, a survey of the various fields of admiralty law, an annotated list of important laws, and an extensive bibliography of texts and treatises. Reference Collection, KF240.S64.
- Admiralty/Maritime Law, University of Iowa College of Law Library (offering an extensive bibliography with a few links to websites on the last page)
- Admiralty & Maritime Law Guide, WWW Virtual Library (featuring over 1,500 annotated links to the full texts of codes and rules, court opinions, conventions, law guides, laws by county, marine insurance, historical information, publications, reference and organizations).
- Admiralty Law, Villanova Law Library
- Maritime Law Research Guide, Georgetown University Law Library
- U.S. Admiralty & Maritime Laws: Research Basics, University of Washington School of Law Gallagher Law Library