Maritime Law

DEFINITION of 'Maritime Law'

A body of laws, conventions and treaties that governs international private business or other matters involving ships, shipping or crimes occurring on open water. Laws between nations governing such things as national versus international waters are considered public international law and are known as the Law of the Seas.

Also known as "admiralty law".

BREAKING DOWN 'Maritime Law'

In most developed nations, maritime law is governed by a separate code and is a separate jurisdiction from national laws. The United Nations, through the International Maritime Organization, has issued numerous conventions that can be enforced by the navies and coast guards that have signed the treaty outlining these rules. Maritime law governs many of the insurance claims relating to ships and cargo, civil matters between shipowners, seamen and passengers, and piracy.

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