Admiralty Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Admiralty, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Admiralty?

n. also referred to as admiralty law, maritime law or Law of the Sea, it is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. Admiralty law was introduced into England. In the USA, it is under the jurisdiction of the US district courts and appeal from judgments in admiralty case lies to the US courts of appeals.

History and Meaning of Admiralty

Admiralty, also known as Maritime Law, is a distinct body of law that governs maritime questions and offenses. It has its roots in ancient maritime civilizations, such as the Rhodians, the Athenians, and the Romans, all of whom developed basic legal systems to govern their maritime affairs. The modern version of Admiralty Law owes its origin to medieval Europe, where it became necessary to regulate the activities of seafarers and shipowners. The term "admiralty" comes from the Latin word "admiralitas," which means "office of the admiral," referring to the office held by the person in charge of naval forces.

In England, Admiralty Law was initially under the control of the Lord High Admiral and his courts, but responsibility for it was later transferred to the High Court of Admiralty. In the United States, it falls under the jurisdiction of the US district courts and appeals from judgments in Admiralty cases lie to the US courts of appeals.

Examples of Admiralty

  1. A seafarer who is injured while working onboard a ship is entitled to compensation under Admiralty Law.

  2. A shipping company that is found to be in violation of pollution regulations by dumping waste into the sea can be held liable under Admiralty Law.

  3. A dispute between two countries over their maritime borders would be settled by an Admiralty Court.

  4. A cargo owner whose goods are lost or damaged during transportation by sea can sue the carrier for damages under Admiralty Law.

Legal Terms Similar to Admiralty

  1. Maritime Law - another term used interchangeably with Admiralty Law.

  2. Law of the Sea - a set of international rules and regulations that govern the use of the world's oceans and seas.

  3. Carriage of Goods by Sea Act - a federal law that governs contracts for the transportation of goods by sea between US ports or from a US port to a foreign port.