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The University of Southampton

LAWS6177 Admiralty Law: Principles and Liabilities

Module Overview

Shipping plays a critical role in the global economy and is generally considered a very well-regulated part of the marine industry, not least internationally by the International Maritime Organization. However, sometimes things may still go wrong with ships at sea due to the inherently risky activities and perils to which they are exposed, such as collisions, running into heavy weather, various navigation incidents leading to pollution and/or casualties, and many other risks ‘of’ and ‘at’ the sea. The module of Admiralty Law: Principles and Liabilities considers the essential legal aspects of the maritime adventure that were mostly developed by the Admiralty Court in England and which have now been embraced by many other jurisdictions in the world.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The main principles of admiralty law and the commercial and public policies which underpin it, deriving from a variety of legal instruments, including international conventions, statutes, case law and standard form maritime contracts.
  • The existing areas of debate, such as the principled practices and doctrine of General Average, within Admiralty law both in its statutory and common law form and its application in the U.K. and internationally.
  • The most frequently occurring and important terms of liabilities covering incidents at sea, including collisions; salvage and towage; piracy, pollution, wreck and port liabilities.
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 maritime commercial context and apply admiralty principles, with appropriate legal authorities, in the solution of complex practical problems involving multiple regimes of liability and draft legal advice based upon such problems.
  • Critically appraise and offer solutions in existing areas of debate in U.K. and international maritime law.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Distinguish relevant from irrelevant materials.
  • Identify and analyse key issues.
  • Think critically, develop coherent arguments in writing.
  • Display clarity and objectivity in written discussion demonstrating an awareness of issue of academic integrity.


The main topics to be covered in the module are: * the nature and development of Admiralty Law * Collisions, including towage elements * Salvage, including towage elements * General average * Piracy * Port liabilities and removal of wrecks * Marine pollution liabilities

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is taught by lectures (8x2hours) and seminars (3x2hours). Lectures will introduce the principles and structure of the subject. You are expected to provide the main input to the seminars where the principles introduced in the lectures are applied to hypothetical scenarios. The most important part of learning is your own independent study. This will, however, be closely guided, and firmly tied into the lectures, seminars and assessment. In the seminars you will have the opportunity to present arguments orally to a group of peers and defend your position under challenge.

Blended Learning20
Independent Study130
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Mandaraka-Sheppard, Modern Maritime Law and Risk Management Vols I and II (3rd end, Informa, 2013).. 

Kennedy & Rose, The Law of Salvage (9th ed. 2017). 

Gaskell and Forrest, The Law of Wreck (Informa, 2020) . 

S. Baughen (2019). Shipping Law. 

Brice, Maritime Law of Salvage (5th edition, 2012). 

Rainey, The Law of Tug and Tow and Offshore Contracts (4th ed. 2017) . 

The Southampton Volumes of Admiralty Law Materials. Students are issued with electronic copies of the module’s materials which contain the primary legal instruments required for their study.

Marsden & Gault, Collisions at Sea (14th ed. 2016). 

Rose, General Average – Law and Practice (3rd ed. 2018). 

D. Attard, et al., (2016). The IMLI Manual on International Maritime Law, Volume II: Shipping Law. 



Essay or problem question


MethodPercentage contribution
Open Book Exam  (48 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Open Book Exam  (48 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Open Book Exam  (48 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:

Books and Stationery equipment

T. Hartley, International Commercial Litigation, 2nd ed., 2015, Cambridge University Press £49.99

P. Rogerson, Collier’s Conflict of Laws, 4th ed,, 2013, Cambridge University Press.

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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