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A Bright Guide to Admiralty and Shipping Law

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Applying for a career in law can be just the beginning of working out where your career will take you. Within law there are numerous different practice areas which each have their own trends, focus areas and specialist firms. We’ve pulled together a bright guide to admiralty and shipping law to help you get an overview of this venerable and important area of commercial law.

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Law in the shipping sector

Admiralty and shipping law is one of the longest established areas of commercial law. Despite the global nature of the shipping industry English law, and English courts, remain the home for many of the disputes that arise. Even for business and companies based far from the UK, much arbitration and litigation will still be settled in London.

Types of shipping law

The work in this area falls into two main areas. ‘Dry’ shipping deals with contract issues, which can range from charter disputes, price, performance or routes, to bills of lading. ‘Wet’ shipping deals with the ships themselves, which can involve their construction, sale, repair, refuelling, insurance, and mortgage. Shipping law also covers other marine craft, such as oil rigs.

Nature of the work

Cases can be highly technical, hinging on matters of engineering or project planning, so consultation with experts is a regular part of working in this field. Also, since companies all over the world seek to settle disputes in the UK, you must be prepared to travel to meet your clients.

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Who can do it?

Given the high value of many disputes in this sector, the work can be highly lucrative. This means that the field is an especially competitive one to enter. 

If considering a career in shipping law, make sure you focus on cases involving shipping when studying contract cases at university, while also seeking out work experience or mini-pupillages with firms and chambers that deal with this area of law, in order to get a better sense of this work. Learn 10 key skills and qualities you need to excel in commercial law

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