The Admiralty Court


The Admiralty Court in England and Wales has exclusive jurisdiction over all aspects of maritime law. It is derived from a multitude of Admiralty Courts which historically operated around the coast of the UK until 1875. After this time the jurisdiction of all these courts were united as a division of the High Court.

The Admiralty Court hears civil disputes based on the Laws of the Sea. The Laws of the Sea are more formally known as the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). These are international laws which govern events across the world’s oceans. The Admiralty Court is based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The work of the court is governed by Part 61 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

If you have been involved in a maritime dispute you should take legal advice from an experienced maritime lawyer prior to bringing a claim in the Admiralty Court. There are several types of disputes which are typical of the work of the maritime court, these include but are not limited to:

  • Collisions
  • Carriage of cargo
  • Mortgage disputes
  • Salvage of vessels

It is worth noting that disputes relating to bills of lading are more commonly brought in the Commercial Court, as are disputes relating to charter parties. It also covers disputes relating to sailor conduct and navigation. The court has a procedure which can allow it to arrest vessels and cargo and sell them within the court’s jurisdiction.

Maritime law by nature has a component which applies both nationally and internationally, so be sure to get legal advice from a qualified solicitor if you or an employee is involved in a dispute.

If you are involved in, or are about to become involved in merchant shipping, it is vital you have an experienced maritime solicitor at hand. Knowledge of maritime law can help ensure difficult and expensive legal matters are avoided.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on the Admiralty Court, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local maritime solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local maritime solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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