Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Mr Robert Veal LLB, LLM

Lecturer in Law

Mr Robert Veal's photo

Robert is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Southampton.

Robert is a double graduate of Southampton having undertaken the LL.B and LL.M in Maritime Law which is passed with distinction. He has also passed the Bar Professional Training Course (London). 

Robert specialises in the legal issues pertaining to the use of marine autonomous systems. These include everything from smaller scale autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to larger unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) as well as unmanned ships in excess of 500grt, with varying levels of autonomy.

His expertise spans both commercial and military applications of unmanned marine technology.

Robert is a member of the Comité Maritime International, International Working Group on Unmanned Ships and has represented the NGO at the IMO (MSC and LEG). He also advises the UK’s Marine Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group (MASRWG).

Excellence in Research

Exploring future marine policy at Southampton Law School - unmanned and autonomous ships

Law School Research page

Research interests

Robert’s research interests include all aspects of marine autonomous systems and shipping, admiralty and international law.

Robert has particular expertise in:

  • the navigational rights and operational freedoms of states in respect of military AUVs under UNCLOS.
  • compliance issues unmanned ships will face in respect of the current IMO regulatory framework for commercial shipping and related international law reform.
  • product liability of producers of unmanned maritime systems technology.
Research Projects

Liability for operations in unmanned maritime vehicles with differing levels of autonomy

Affiliate research groups

Institute of Maritime Law, Insurance Law Research Group

Member of the Comité Maritime International, International Working Group on Unmanned Ships.

Marine Autonomous Systems Regulatory Working Group (MASRWG); Safety and Regulation of Unmanned Maritime Systems (SARUMS)

Sort via:TypeorYear




Admiralty Law (Module co-ordinator)
The Law of the Sea
The Law of Autonomous Vessels

Veal R, “Unmanned ships and their international regulation” North P & I, Newcastle, 2017

Veal R, “Autonomous vessels and the law: an introduction”, Wiersholm, Norway, 2017

Veal R, “Unmanned ships: regulation and liabilities”, Insurance Institute of London, London, 2017

Veal R, “An introduction to the legal issues surrounding unmanned maritime systems”, BMT, Brussels, 2016.

Veal R, “Regulation for Autonomous Vessels”, Int’l Marine Claims Conference, Dublin, 2016

Veal R, “Unmanned ships and the IMO Framework”, Int’l Union of Marine Insurance, Genoa, 2016

Veal R, “The navigation of unmanned ships and the Collision Regulations”, 42nd International Conference of the Comité Maritime International, 2-6 May 2016, New York, USA

Mr Robert Veal
Southampton Law School, Building 4 University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ UK

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.