Navigate your business internationally

Maritime law is governed by a separate entity that administrates maritime
questions and offences. It is an organisation that controls domestic law by
governing maritime activities and private international law, governing
dealings between private bodies that operate vessels on the international
waters. Key issues that they deal with include marine commerce, marine
navigation, shipping, sailors and the transportation of passengers and
merchandise by sea.Maritime also looks after commercial events, whether
they happen on land or not, as long as they are maritime in nature.

Maritime law is different to Law of the
sea which consists of an organisation of
public international law that manages
navigational rights, mineral rights, jurisdiction
over coastal waters and international law
governing relations between nations. It is
common for each legal jurisdiction to use its
separate enacted legislation governing
maritime matters.Maritime law uses a lot of
international law that has been created
recently, including several multilateral treaties.
However, despite the strict control of
maritime governing body’s regulations, not even
the shipping industry was free from the global
effects of the economic crisis.As most banks
internationally became overly cautious about
what they invested in and who they lent to, this
meant that even the shipping industry took a
hit.Although we should not forget that 90% of
international trade goods are transported by
ships so like all industries maritime has been
through a tough time but cannot afford to
decrease too much, simply for the benefit of
export international trade. Therefore legal
experts in the shipping and trade field need to
be on the ball and act quickly and efficiently
when dealing with or on behalf of a client.
“Shipping and trade lawyers frequently have to
move at high speed on behalf of their clients. It is
common place for advice on complex areas of the
contract, tort, international shipping and sale of
goods law to have to be provided with 100%
accuracy in a matter of minutes with millions at
stake sometimes tens or hundreds of millions…..
There have been three fabulous years for
shipping lawyers due to the credit crunch
causing markets to collapse and parties to
“reach for their lawyers”. Recently though the
market has gone back to normal and is more
competitive…..” Nicholas Parton from Jackson
Parton talks about how the financial crisis
affected the shipping and trade industry from a
legal point of view.
By the end of September 2010, the global
recession will have been topical for two years.
Shipping and all related industries are very
much on the front line, in that freight rates
suffered as soon as demand started to dry up.
Of course, as freight rates declined, so too did
the asset value of ships and there were
significant incentives for parties to break
contracts, whether they were long term time
charters, agreements for the purchase of
vessels or shipbuilding contracts. In such a
market, shipbuilders, traders and shipbuilders
all adopt different strategies to weather the
storm and survive and sadly not all are
successful. This introduces a second element of
uncertainty, namely counterparty risk.We
appear to be through the worst of these
recessionary times, although the market
conditions are still challenging and managing
risk and claims remain key.
Graham Harris from Thomas Cooper
explains the economical hardships faced
during the credit crunch “Of course,
challenging times give rise to numerous
disputes as each party looks to stabilise its
own position. Because we understand not only
the legal aspects, but also the commercial
environment in which the clients are
operating, we are better able to guide the
clients away from troubled waters and towards
a stable existence….The demand is high, but as
the economic climate stabilises so too will the
number of disputes. However, the firm has
been increasing its market share steadily and
we expect this trend to continue.”