Fall 2009 - Admiralty Law
Robertson, David W
Course ID: 377 Unique # 28800 Credit Hours: 3
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm
Thursday, December 10
This course is restricted to upper division students only.
Anything that happens on or near any body of navigable water is liable to call forth the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal courts and the application of the national 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 an ocean, river, or lake port city or who handles international transactions of any sort is likely to run into admiralty problems. (Yes, there's tons of admiralty in Baton Rouge, plenty of it in Cincinnati, and probably still a little bit in Ogallala.)
Related Course Areas
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." Thus, understanding admiralty and maritime law 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 very 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 water users; carriage of goods under private contracts of carriage (charterparties) and under bills of lading (including the Harter Act and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act); collisions between vessels; and the Shipowner's Limited Liability Act.
The emphasis is on the present-day problems of maritime lawyers and judges as reflected in current litigation. Since 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down at least two dozen admiralty decisions. 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.