Admiralty law

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- 1. Meaning

Admiral, a word listening to it gives one expression in mind of something related to navy or being specific a post in the navy. A layman would easily perceive that Admiralty law would be something that would be related to laws of the navy. But once when he gets to know that the other term used for Admiralty law is Maritime law, his perception would change and he thinks that these laws would be related to seas, oceans. The term Maritime or Admiralty law constitutes as a body of law that governs trade intercourse in waters i.e. commerce in seas, oceans etc.

2. Definition

After getting a layman idea of Admiralty law, let's move into the meaning of it in legal parlance. The maritime or admiralty law is a body of laws, conventions and international treaties which has jurisdiction over the private maritime business in waters. The main aim of it is to govern the uses of oceans and seas for the purpose of trade and commerce. In other words, it represents a body of statues, treaties that are implied to civil maritime financial and regulatory actions of ships in seas. Hence it is referred to as “Law of the Sea". The most accepted legal dictionary- Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as “the corpse of law governing marine and navigation commerce, the carriage of property and persons, and marine affairs in generic; the rules governing contract, tort and workers’ compensation claims or relating to commerce on or over water”. Gilmore and Black, in their Law of Admiralty, describes maritime law as ‘’A body of rules, concepts, regulations and legal practices governing important concerns guiding the business of goods and passengers by water’’. In the words of, William Tetley’s in Glossary of Maritime Terms mentions maritime law as “a system of law which has characteristics of being dubious in nature as it can be both public and private, substantive and procedural, national and international’’. The various definitions available are not exhaustive and new dimensions are being added to it so that it can suffice the need of the hour.