Like most people, you may not know the difference between admiralty and maritime law, and civil law. Although there is some overlap, they are pretty different. If you or someone close to you sustains injuries on a ship or cruise, you may be wondering whether you need to see an admiralty or maritime lawyer. The answer is “yes”. Admiralty law deals with maritime matters and incidents impacting the waterways of the United States. Civil law deals with land-based claims.
The following article will explain the nuances of admiralty and maritime law in more detail.
What Is Admiralty Law?
Admiralty law is the area of law that governs the affairs of shipping. It includes everything from international piracy to the simplest waterborn personal injury claim. Admiralty law governs accidents and injuries on the high seas and the seizure and confiscation of vessels. Because maritime activities take place in a unique environment, admiralty law has its own rules and procedures tailored to the needs of the marine world.
When Does Admiralty Law Apply?
Admiralty law applies when the activity giving rise to the dispute potentially impacts maritime commerce. It can deal with cargo damage, collisions, salvage, fires, etc. on multi-ton ships down to the negligent operation of a jet ski. . This branch of law deals with the legal issues and disputes arising from such activities at sea, including cases involving maritime contracts, cargo damage, injuries at sea, and salvage of shipwrecks.
What Is Maritime Law?
Maritime law, sometimes called admiralty law, is the law that governs activities that potentially have an impact on maritime commerce whether occurring at sea or a local waterway. This area of law is complex and can be challenging to understand. In general, maritime law regulates issues related to accidents and incidents on navigable waters. They can include everything from shipping and commercial disputes to marine collisions and injuries.
The Difference Between Admiralty Law and Civil Law
Here are a few of the differences between admiralty and civil:
- Admiralty law is the area of law that deals with matters which could potentially impact maritime commerce. Whether the incident is a yacht fire far offshore or a crewmember injured while climbing boarding ladder while the vessel has been placed on land for repairs, maritime law applies. Unlike admiralty law, civil law law does not apply to activities on the water. Instead, it applies only to activities on land and is governed by laws that are distinctly different from maritime law.
So, in short, the main difference between admiralty law and civil law is that there are a number of specific laws relating to maritime incidents that do not apply to civil land-based claims. Accordingly, it is important that counsel is hired who is knowledgeable in both areas.
Admiralty And Maritime Jurisdiction:
Admiralty and maritime jurisdiction is often vested in the federal courts of the United States. Cases can also be brought in the state court system at law. In many instances, Maritime matters have national implications and can affect relationships with citizens of other nations.
Another distinct feature of Admiralty law is that the vessel involved in the incident or accident can be named as a defendant “in rem” and required to post prejudgment security for the Plaintiff’s claim. This is a concept exclusive to the federal admiralty system and is unavailable in state court. It is also a remedy unavailable in civil proceedings without the Plaintiff posting security.
In cases involving admiralty or maritime law, state courts must follow the rules of federal law. This “concurrent jurisdiction” allows persons to take legal action at the state level as well as in federal court.