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Admiralty law


Admiralty Law provides the framework for international trade, looking at trade from an integrated perspective. The Admiralty Law course looks at the shipping business from the point of obtaining finances, ship ownership, ship operation, ship casualties and the enforcement of maritime claims. Throughout the course you will cover: issues of maritime liens, the arrest of the ship and action in rem, limitation of liability and salvage rights and general assistants at sea and in ports. You will cover ship ownership and using the ship as property to secure finance, safety in navigation and liabilities and limitation of liability in respect to shipping incidents.

Module A: Admiralty jurisdiction and procedure


  • The nature of Admiralty jurisdiction
  • Enforceability of claims under the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court
  • Procedure for enforcement of claims in rem
  • Ship arrest and jurisdiction on the merits

Module B: Acquiring ownership in ships and the ship as property


  • Ownership, management and potential liabilities
  • Ship mortgages
  • Shipbuilding contracts
  • Ship sale and purchase

Module C: Safety regulations in navigation, liabilities and limitation of liability


  • Seamanship and the Collision regulations
  • Criminal liabilities for navigational incidents
  • Civil liabilities for collision damage; apportionment of loss and measure of damages
  • Limitation of liability

Module D: Assistance at sea and in ports


  • The concept of salvage under maritime law and the Salvage Conventions
  • Assessment of salvage award and special compensation. Salvage agreements under the 1989 Salvage Convention.
  • Towage contracts; liabilities to third parties arising from negligence during towage
  • Duties and liabilities of ports and pilots.


Each module is assessed by a 45-minute unseen written exam.


It is strongly recommended that you attempt the modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Common Law
  • International Business Law
  • Maritime Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Mikis Tsimplis

Professor Mikis Tsimplis

Professor Mikis Tsimplis is Professor of Maritime Law and Ocean Sciences at the University of Southampton and the current director of the Institute of Maritime Law. Professor Tsimplis’ research focuses on the general developments in commercial shipping law, admiralty and carriage of goods by sea, the challenges posed by new technologies and the way the policy and legal framework need to change in order to facilitate their environmentally safe usage.

His is currently the PI on a project on Changes in Marine Extremes funded by Lloyd's Educational Trust, a project on the Sea Traffic Management validation project funded by the EC and a project on the Legal liabilities of autonomous vehicles funded by the European Defense Agency. He is also involved with the Leverhulme Maritime Futures doctoral training scheme.