What does an Admiralty Lawyer do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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An admiralty lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in maritime law. These legal professionals may also be known as maritime lawyers. Maritime law is a complex and diverse topic which is markedly different from the law on shore, and lawyers who specialize in this type of law are in high demand. Like other lawyers, an admiralty lawyer can assist clients with bringing suit, defend clients accused of legal violations, help people write up contracts, and provide legal advice to individuals who will be in situations where maritime law is in effect.

The history of maritime law is quite venerable. Each nation has its own domestic laws, and there are also international laws in force for international waters. The content of maritime law includes basic procedural issues such as navigation along with clauses covering topics such as injury while working on the sea, piracy, and so forth. Violations of admiralty law may be tried in national or international courts, requiring a high level of skill from the legal team.


One common reason to hire an admiralty lawyer is in the event of an injury at sea. Sailors are entitled to certain benefits and assistance from their employers if they are injured, and may bring suit if employers fail to comply with the law. Passengers also have legal rights in the event that they are injured, and people can also sue for damage to cargo or loss of cargo. In all of these cases, an admiralty lawyer can construct and argue a case in court.

A company may keep an admiralty lawyer on retainer to provide ongoing legal advice and to step in when legal situations arise. Lawyers on retainer may try to settle disputes out of court, and if this is not possible, they defend their employers in court. These lawyers handle topics ranging from lawsuits brought by sailors injured on the job to processing liens on ships and equipment used at sea.

Salvage and treasure recovery are also areas of maritime law. When people wish to stake a salvage claim or get permission to recover treasure, they work with an admiralty lawyer to file the necessary paperwork and ensure that their permits are in order. Issues of salvage and treasure can be very contentious, especially when they involve historic wrecks or items of national significance, in which case a salvager could meet with significant opposition in the course of applying for the appropriate permits.


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