The Rules of Maritime Law

The rules of maritime law are unique in that they govern the contracts, torts, offenses and injuries arising from or related to maritime commerce. They also apply to the territorial waters, ports and inland waterways of foreign nations. As such, a large number of statutes and treaties are incorporated into this unique body of law.

One of the earliest codifications of maritime law emerged from the Rolls of Oleron. It was promulgated around the 12th century, and served as the nucleus of the maritime law in England, France, Scotland, Flanders, Prussia, Castile and other countries. It is still cited today, even by U.S. courts.

Maritime law is very broad, and it can have a great impact on businesses in many industries. There are a number of things that can run afoul of maritime law, and it is easy to run into trouble when not properly advised or represented. An experienced maritime lawyer can help avoid these pitfalls.

Among the most common concerns that fall under maritime law is injury and death on board vessels or in port and shipyards. Often, maritime law will take precedence over other laws if a worker is injured. This is a result of the fact that many people working in ports, harbors and shipyards – from crane operators to clerical office workers – are covered by the Jones Act, which ensures federal compensation coverage for them if they are injured. A skilled maritime lawyer can help companies and ship owners to understand these protections and not shrink from their responsibilities.

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