New The Healy Lectures on Admiralty Law 2005 to 2015



Edited by John D. Kimball

ISBN: 978 1 1386 79221 (Hardback)

Informa Law from Routledge


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

If you are a maritime lawyer, this new publication from Informa Law from Routledge will make a distinguished contribution to your law library, providing as it does, a source of further enlightenment on some of the grand themes of maritime law and their application to specific cases.

We can almost guarantee that law students and yes, non-lawyers too, will find themselves fascinated by the lectures contained in this book, one of which for example, concerns the thorny legal problems raised by the salvaging of RMS Titanic. But of that, more later.

The Healy lectures of the title began at the NYU Law School (New York University) in 1992. Their aim, explains the editor John D. Kimball, was ‘to provide a forum for the scholarly consideration of maritime law.’ Nicholas J. Healy himself enjoyed a distinguished career as a maritime lawyer and Adjunct Professor at NYU, teaching Admiralty law from 1947 to 1986. Included in his impressive array of credentials is his service as President of the US Maritime Law Association and as Vice President of the Comite Maritime International.

With the support of Informa, the first six lectures were collected and published in a single volume. This second volume contains the second six, namely seven though twelve, which were published previously in the Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce. The orientation of the lectures is obviously American, but no matter, as maritime considerations are for the most part, international.

The lectures are grouped under two main headings: ‘Admiralty’s Greatest Hits’ and ‘Wish List: Issues We Wish the US Supreme Court Would Decide’. (Did we say this book would be popular with students? We need say no more.)

Of special interest on this side of the Atlantic is the article on marine pollution and the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle. But as we’ve all seen the movie — indeed a couple of movies — the lecture by the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer on the salvage of R.M.S. Titanic, with which the book commences should — not unexpectedly — occupy the centre stage of interest.

Entitled ‘Applying Jus Gentium to the Salvage of the R.M.S. Titanic in International Waters’, it addresses, to quote its author, ‘the more general question of whether salvage law appropriately applies to the recovery of historic wrecks such as the ‘Titanic’. One of the problems that emerged here was the question of whether a U.S. court had the power to ‘supervise a site that physically lay in international waters.’ Also, do the accepted laws of salvage apply to ‘historic wrecks’, namely wrecks that contain ‘underwater heritage’ under the ancient concept of ‘Jus Gentium’ is explained in some detail.

Eye witness accounts of perhaps the most heartbreaking (and avoidable) maritime disaster of them all are also included in the discussion. As the band played ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ until the musicians were up to their knees in water, ‘the lights winked,’ reported The ‘Cleveland Plain Dealer’ ‘the black mass surged under, and the death cries of the hundreds broke into the quiet night.’

‘To talk about maritime law,’ comments Paul Niemeyer, ‘is to talk about a mysterious scripture of the ages.’ The insights, the notable case studies and the research resources provided by this book are noteworthy in that they extend that conversation, often in unexpected directions. Every maritime lawyer, or indeed any practitioner, should acquire a copy forthwith.

The publication date is cited as at 2016.


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