- Admiralty law covers all contracts, torts, injuries or offenses that take place on navigable waters.
- The traditional domain of admiralty is the ocean, including waters that ebb and flow with the tide. The jurisdiction has been extended over all public navigable waters. Rivers, streams, lakes and other bodies of water are within admiralty jurisdiction if they are navigable waters.
- The federal district courts have original jurisdiction over admiralty matters and apply a special set of rules and principles of law to cases presented for decision. The federal courts' jurisdiction is not exclusive, however, and sometimes claims may be pursued in state court.
RELATED PRACTICE AREAS
- Admiralty Court
- Coast Guard
- Jones Act
- Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
For more definitions, visit the FindLaw Legal Dictionary.
PRACTICE AREA NOTES
- Many legal issues that can occur on land can also occur on the water, such as workers' compensation, criminal offenses, personal injury or employment issues. When they occur on the water, some specific situations related to those issues are covered by Admiralty Law.
- Admiralty attorneys in larger firms may handle issues of International Law (import/export, fishing rights), Environmental Law (pollution, dumping), or Business & Commercial Law (leases, liens, bankruptcy).