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What Is the Difference between Maritime Law and Common Law

To fully understand maritime law and Admiralty law, you must understand the legal terminology associated with it. For example, what are the definitions of navigable “water” and “ship”? Vessels include, for example, yachts, fishing vessels, excavators, cargo and supply vessels, barges, tugs, crew boats, cruise ships, oil tankers, tugs and offshore oil platforms. A law of the sea monitors any type of accident or unfortunate injury of a seafarer on board a ship, taking into account the time, area, precautions and type of work at the time the accident occurred in order to assess the correct compensation for the injured. Like most other types of cases, those with maritime or admiralty rights must be filed within a certain period of time. This prescribed period is called the limitation period. There are also many different factors that determine the limitation period, particularly with respect to maritime law and admiralty law. Claims for damage to goods shipped in international trade are subject to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), the U.S. Hague Rules Act. One of its main features is that a shipowner is responsible for damaged cargo from one “hook to another”, i.e. from loading to unloading, unless he is exempted from liability by one of the 17 exceptions, such as. B a “case of force majeure”, the inherent nature of the goods, errors in navigation and management of the ship.

The basis of the shipowner`s liability is a surety and if the carrier is to be liable as a common carrier, it must be proved that the goods have been transferred to the possession and control of the carrier for immediate carriage. [17] The scope of the law of the sea also includes problems with private boats, including those that are simply used to spend a day of fun with friends and family. It also solves problems among coastal workers, dockers, seafarers, longshoremen and anyone affected by ships. It is important to understand the law of the sea and the common law. These are just a few examples of incidents that could fall under maritime law and Admiralty law. Ship owners and operators, including cruise ship owners and operators, are required to comply with a certain standard of care for products and people on board their ships, and incidents occur when they do not. As a general rule, the jurisdiction of the Admiralty covers cases where the claim is due to an accident in the navigable waters of the United States and relates to maritime trade. The Admiralty`s jurisdiction also includes treaties relating to “navigation, business or trade of the sea” as well as crimes committed on the high seas against a U.S.

ship or citizen. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that jurisdiction over the Admiralty is not limited to cases involving merchant ships. Simply put, accidents with private boats on navigable waters can be brought before the Admiralty courts, even if the boat was only used for a fun day trip with family and friends. Other laws apply in cases involving longshoremen, longshoremen and dockers, which you can read in our article: Two powerful remedies for injured coastal workers and dockers. It is the choice of the parties to take their case to state or federal courts. This choice is important because the parties may have different or more favourable rights under federal maritime law than under state law or vice versa. When a case is brought before a state court, the court must apply substantive federal law and state procedural law. This rule ensures that federal maritime law governs all maritime affairs, but allows states to hear ocean affairs on the basis of their own procedures and customary law.

This distinction is important because federal admiralty law differs from state law in many ways. Perhaps the most important difference between the law of the sea and the common law courts is that the Admiralty judges apply only the general law of the sea and conduct trials without jurors. Prior to the mid-1970s, most international agreements on maritime trade came from a private organization of shipping lawyers known as Comité Maritime International (CMI). The CMI was founded in 1897 and has been responsible for drafting many international conventions, including the Hague Regulations (International Convention on Connosements), the Visby Amendments (amendment to the Hague Regulations), the Rescue Convention and many others. Although the CMI continues to act in an advisory capacity, many of its functions have been taken over by the International Maritime Organization, which was established by the United Nations in 1958 but did not really take effect until around 1974. Due to the complexity of maritime and admiralty laws and the required limitation period to be met, it is important to contact an experienced maritime and admiralty lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. The lawyers of Brill & Rinaldi, lawyers with decades of experience who help their clients navigate the murky waters of maritime law and admiralty. Contact them today to arrange a consultation. Significantly, cases that are typically heard by state courts instead of federal courts are those involving a tort or where a state court may have personal jurisdiction over the defendant. There are certain types of admiralty claims for which a federal court has exclusive jurisdiction and must hear, including the execution of a maritime lien, the enforcement of a preferred ship mortgage, the limitation of the shipowner`s liability, any proceeding in which the ship itself is sued (in an actual case), and maritime lawsuits against the government. .