Author: Dr Damien J Cremean
Publisher: The Federation Press
The Court’s admiralty jurisdiction is sometimes seen as exotic. Indeed, it is not often encountered by some practitioners. Yet it is an important jurisdiction that dates back centuries.
The fifth edition of Dr Cremean’s text ‘Admiralty Jurisdiction’ is an invaluable resource for anyone practising in the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. It is a comprehensive, and well written, guide to admiralty law. Significantly, the scope of the task undertaken, and undertaken successfully, by the author in this text should not be understated. To explain that task - the first edition started as a book on Australian law, the second extended to New Zealand, while the third focused on Australia and New Zealand, but also took in Singapore and Hong Kong SAR China. The fourth edition added Malaysia. Ambitiously, the fifth edition now includes all of those jurisdictions but also addresses the law in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and India. It comes some five years after the publication of the fourth edition.
In writing the foreword for the fifth edition, the Honourable Mr Justice Teare observed that the useful collation of law from a number of jurisdictions into one text allows potential development of the law by reference to experience from other shipping jurisdictions. This serves to highlight the value of Dr Cremean’s book.
The text is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the admiralty jurisdiction, including its historical development as well as an overview of its operation. Chapter 2, importantly, discusses the Court’s jurisdiction to hear an admiralty proceeding, including the distinction between jurisdiction to hear a claim in rem (usually brought against a ship) and a claim in personam, being a claim against a person. As the author observes, the ability to proceed directly against a ship has been the distinguishing feature of admiralty jurisdiction for centuries.
Chapter 3 is long and detailed. It addresses the various types of admiralty claims, separating these into categories - proprietary maritime claims, general maritime claims and other admiralty claims. Helpfully, the author addresses each specific type of claim, such as loss or damage to cargo, towage, pilotage, port and harbour dues, levies, arbitral awards and claims for salvage, to name just a few. Potential admiralty defences are also identified. Chapter 4 addresses practice and procedure in the admiralty jurisdiction and chapter 5 concerns procedural rules, including such matters as service, appearance and arrest of a ship.
Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court described the fourth edition as “a beautifully crafted and comprehensive work, written by someone with command of his field.” The same is true of the fifth edition. Admiralty Jurisdiction is an excellent practitioner’s text and is available for $265 direct from the publisher.