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Marine insurance law

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

The law of marine insurance is an ancient one and a vital part of English commercial law and international commercial law. Marine Insurance law is intellectually challenging area and of great practical commercial importance as many commercial transactions involve insurance. Many insurance law problems, particularly those of marine insurance law arise when there are disasters - often tragic; armed conflict, piracy, terrorism, natural disasters as well as massive commercial declines. Marine insurance law is also important because it serves as the foundation not just for the law of marine insurance but also the law of non-marine insurance. The English law of marine insurance is a law which has influenced the development of insurance law and in particular marine insurance law in many other countries. Over the duration of this course you will come to understand the intricacies of this fascinating area.

Module A: The contract of marine insurance


  • The nature of a marine insurance contract
  • The Marine Insurance Act 1906
  • The requirement of insurable interest
  • Wagering and gaming contracts
  • The formation of a marine insurance contract
  • The construction of a marine insurance contract
  • The policy
  • Types of marine insurance policies (time/voyage policies; floating policies/open covers; valued/unvalued policies; composite/joint policies)
  • The assignment of rights under a marine insurance policy

Module B: The doctrine of utmost good faith and insurance contracts


  • Nature of the duty of utmost good faith
  • The assured's pre-contractual duty of good faith: misrepresentation and non-disclosure
  • The assured's post-contractual duty of good faith and the duty in respect of claims
  • The insurer's duty
  • Remedies
  • The role of the broker

Module C: The terms of the contract; risks; and causation


  • Terms:
  1. Premium
  2. The assured and the subject matter of the insurance
  3. The attachment, duration, alteration and termination of the insured risk (including change of voyage, deviation and delay)
  4. Warranties (express and implied)
  5. Conditions and other terms
  6. The Institute Clauses
  • Risks:
  1. Marine risks
  2. War risks
  3. Excepted risks
  • Causation:
  1. Burden of proof
  2. The sue and labour clause (mitigation of loss)

Module D: Indemnity, subrogation and contribution


  • The principle of indemnity
  • The measure of indemnity
  • Insurers’ right of subrogation upon payment
  • Contribution between multiple underwriters
  • Third parties’ rights against insurers


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended 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:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Financial Services Law
  • Insurance Law
  • International Business Law
  • Maritime Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.