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LAWS3053 Admiralty Law

Module Overview

Admiralty Law is an exciting course dealing with the laws applicable to shipping operations and the liabilities that may arise. Liabilities arising from shipping accidents, covering loss of life, damage to property, pollution as well as special liability regimes for salvage assistance, specific privileges granted to shipowners, including their right to limit liability, and the claimants’ right to arrest the ship are all discussed. The discussion includes the application of tort principles to collision accidents, contract law to contracts of towage, salvage, wreck removal as well as the introduction to international conventions providing for strict liability for the shipowner for some types of damage. The course does not cover liabilities arising from charterparties and bills of lading and marine insurance because these are covered in separate modules.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• to provide you with knowledge and understanding of the main principles of Admiralty Law and the commercial, safety and environmental policies and values which underpin it; • to provide you with experience in dealing with legal principles deriving from variety of legal instruments, including international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form maritime contracts; • to provide you with skills of legal analysis and problem solving at an advanced level in a commercial law subject with an international aspect.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main principles which govern Admiralty liabilities, including: -salvage and collision liabilities -carriage of passengers, -towage and dock liabilities -marine pollution liabilities -limitation of liability -the scope of contractual rights and obligations;
  • the main commercial, safety and environmental policies and values underpinning Admiralty Law;
  • the existing areas of debate about what the law is and what it ought to be, both in U.K. and internationally.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse relevant legal materials, including international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form maritime contracts;
  • identify key legal and policy issues in their commercial, safety and environmental contexts;
  • apply Admiralty principles, with appropriate legal authorities, in the solution of complex practical problems involving multiple regimes of liability;
  • draft legal advice based upon such problems;
  • critically appraise and offer solutions in existing areas of debate in U.K. and international maritime law;
  • display clarity and objectivity in written discussion.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and locate relevant legal materials, including international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form maritime contracts;
  • think critically in relation to policy issues;
  • plan and manage your studying.


Introduction to Admiralty law The International Salvage Convention 1989 Salvage Contracts Collision liabilities Towage contracts Liability for the carriage of passengers Liability for marine pollution Limitation of liability Ship Arrest Actions in rem and in personam Maritime Liens Freezing injunctions Jurisdictional disputes

Special Features

This module is important for students wishing to work in firms specialising in maritime law. For a number of years the best student who has studied carriage of goods by sea and/or admiralty has been offered a two week vacation placement with Holman, Fenwick & Willan, one of the leading City firms specialising in maritime law. This may, and sometimes has, resulted in a training contact with that firm. The Institute of Maritime Law runs a series of voluntary seminars on Wednesday afternoons given by brokers, insurers, judges, arbitrators, solicitors and others specialising in the maritime field to supplement and enhance the students understanding of the practical and commercial background to this subject. It also organises a boat trip round the port of Southampton.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be by one two hour seminar per week. Seminars will develop: • the structure of the subject and the presently applicable principles and policies • about the major controversies and problems existing in relation to the interpretation of the legal provisions • draft legal instruments which are expected to change the law applicable

Preparation for scheduled sessions200
Completion of assessment task30
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

D.C. Jackson (2005). The Enforcement of Maritime Claims. 

Hill, C (2004). Maritime Law. 

Meeson (2011). Admiralty Jurisdiction and Practice. 

Routledge. Maritime Law. 

Baughen, S (2015). Shipping Law. 

Reeder, J (QC) (2012). Brice on Maritime Law of Salvage. 

Kennedy and Rose, F (2017). Kennedy and Rose, F on The Law of Salvage. 

Halsbury's Laws of England. 

Marsden and Gault (2016). Marsden and Gault: Collisions at Sea. 

Aleka Mandaraka-Sheppard (2014). Modern Maritime Law (Volumes 1 and 2) (Maritime and Transport Law Library) Hardcover. 





MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3500 words) 40%
Exam  (3.5 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3500 words) 40%
Exam  (3.5 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (3.5 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Four volumes of materials are provided both in electronic form on Blackboard and in hard copies. These are provided without any costs for the students. They must be kept clean and without annotations because they can be taken in the final exams.

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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