Saturday, 31 July 2010
A brief look at one of the specialist branches of the law - Admiralty
Today, the High Court Queen's Bench Division has within it some specialist courts: the Administrative Court; the Admiralty Court; Technology and Construction Court and the Commercial Court.
Each year there is a small number of Admiralty cases heard in the High Court. Also, certain County Courts have some Admiralty jurisdiction. A recent Admiralty Court case was concerned with a collision between two ships and the apportionment of the losses - see here. The judgment of David Steel J extends to just 33 paragraphs and is a model of succinctness and clarity. The Judge sat with Captain Derek Richards, an Elder Brother of Trinity House, who acted as Nautical Assessor and advised the Judge on matters such as seamanship and navigation. The use of an assessor in the High Court is unusual and is a feature of the Admiralty jurisdiction. It helps to reduce reliance on expert witnesses. Could it be usefully adopted in other areas?
See also Careers at Sea and the Merchant Navy Training Board
Law Careers - Admiralty
The Honourable Company of Master Mariners