Admiralty Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED, THU 1:05 - 2:20 pm JON 6.206

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Floating take-home exam


What appears below is a fairly standard description of an admiralty law survey course. Regrettably, it does not convey the uniqueness and excitement of this intellectually challenging area of the law. It has been written that maritime law should be mandatory in the first year of law school since it will excite students about law and introduce them to every subject they will study at the law school. And a national humor magazine, in a pseudo law review article concerning the Law of the Jungle, declared that "nothing... begins to compare in complexity and sheer orneriness with aquatic law."

Anything that happens on or near a body of navigable water is liable to call forth the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal courts and the application of the federal maritime law. The practice of admiralty and maritime law is somewhat specialized--admiralty lawyers still like to call themselves "proctors"--but any lawyer who practices in a port city (on an ocean, river, or lake) or who handles international transactions of any sort is likely to run into admiralty problems. (Yes, there is a lot of admiralty in Baton Rouge, plenty of it in Cincinnati, and probably still a little bit in Ogallala.) England had a specialized admiralty practice, and our Constitution set up admiralty and maritime law as a separate subject in this country by explicitly vesting the federal courts with full (but not exclusive) power over "all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction."  Understanding admiralty and maritime law accordingly entails some historical inquiries as well as a significant re-education in aspects of constitutional law affecting the division of power between the national and state governments. But the focus of the course is predominantly modern law, and the course materials consist in major part of recent judicial decisions and oft-litigated statutes.

This course delves into issues presented by injuries to maritime workers (including the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act); injuries to ship passengers and recreational boaters; carriage of goods under private contracts of carriage (charterparties) and under bills of lading (including the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act); collisions between vessels; marine insurance; and forum shopping in maritime cases. The emphasis is on the present-day problems of maritime lawyers and judges as reflected in current litigation. The name "admiralty" may conjure up images of antiquity, but the practice and study of maritime law is a thoroughly modern matter. There are no prerequisites.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

Admiralty And Maritime Law In The United States *
Robertson, David W., Friedell, Steven F., Sturley, Michael F., Robertson, David, Friedell, Steven, and Sturley, Michael
Carolina Academic Press , edition: 4
ISBN: 978-1-5310-1839-9
2023 Statutory Supplement To Admiralty And Maritim *
Robertson, David, Friedell, Steven, and Sturley, Michael
Carolina Academic Press , edition: 4
ISBN: 978-1-5310-2846-6


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