Admiralty law (also referred to as maritime law) is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. It is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans. It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea. Admiralty law also covers many commercial activities, although land based or occurring wholly on land, that are maritime in character.
- While the Enterprise's mission is ostensibly "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before," its function is really more akin to that naval vessels in the early age of mercentalism. In describing the similarities, series creator Gene Roddenberry noted: "In those days ships of the major powers were assigned to patrol specific areas of the world's oceans. They represented their governments in those areas and protected the national interests of their respective countries. Out of contact with the admiralty office back home for long periods of time, the captains of these ships had very broad discretionary powers. These included regulating trade, fighting bush wars, putting down slave traders, lending aid to scientific expeditions conducting exploration on a broad scale, [and] engaging in diplomatic exchanges and affairs....
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 8-9.
- A man shall not sue in the Admiralty, only because it is a ship.
- Hdlt. C.J.. Shermoulin v. Sands (1697), 1 Raym. 272.
- The jurisdiction of the Court does not depend upon the existence of the ship, but upon the origin of the question to be decided, and the locality.
- Dr. Lushington in the judgment of the Case of The Volant (1842), 1 W. Rob. 387.
- I for one will not re-open the floodgates of Admiralty jurisdiction upon the people of this country.
- William Brett, 1st Viscount Esher, M.R., The Queen v. Judge of City of London Court (1891), L. R. 1 Q. B. D. 299.
- The difficulty of dealing with Admiralty Reports by way of authority is, that there is no necessity in that Court that the Judge should, in the exposition of the grounds of his judgment, discriminate strictly between the proposition of law which is to be satisfied by all the facts of the case, and the rule of interpretation of the direct facts of maritime vicissitudes given in evidence, by which he desires to bind himself and his successors as to the inference of fact he and they ought, as a general rule, to draw from those facts.
- Brett, L.J., Akerblom v. Price (1881), L. R. 7 Q. B. 132.