Admiralty Court

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A court forming part of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court whose jurisdiction embraces civil actions relating to ships and the sea. Puisne judges hear cases with the assistance of nautical assessors. The court's work includes cases about collisions, damage to cargo, prizes (see prize court), and salvage, and in some cases assessors may be called in to sit with the judge. The distinctive feature of the court's procedure is the action * in rem, under which the property that has given rise to the cause of action (usually a ship) may be “arrested” and held by the court to satisfy the claimant's claim. In practice, it is usual for the owners of the property to give security for its release while the action is proceeding. If the claim is successful, the property held or the sum given by way of security is available to satisfy the judgment. Until 1971 the Admiralty Court was part of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court. Since the Access to Justice Act 1999, all Admiralty proceedings will be allocated to the multi-track.

Subjects: Law — Regional and National History.

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