Over 90% of Australian trade is transported by sea and the law governing the ships that facilitate this trade is of great commercial importance. Maritime Law concerns issues such as the ownership and flagging of ships, salvage and wreck law, and liabilities arising from incidents such as collisions at sea and marine pollution. It also covers the enforcement of maritime claims, including arrest of ships, jurisdiction, and securities, such as maritime liens.

Maritime Law is a blend of general principles of contract and tort law, specialised maritime laws arising out of the ancient law merchant, international conventions, customary international law and domestic (both Commonwealth and State) law. Consideration is therefore also given to jurisdictional issues, including an introduction to the international maritime zones and a more detailed consideration of the jurisdictional competencies of flag and port States.

The international nature of shipping, and the international legal structure underpinning it, means that shipping law throughout the world is similar and skills acquired in one jurisdiction are readily transferable to another. The course is therefore of particular interest to students who wish to pursue an international career in either the private or government sectors or in international trade.

Course presenters

Drew James

Drew JamesDrew James has been practising as a maritime lawyer since 1982.

Drew graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws and was admitted as a solicitor the Supreme Court of New South in July 1982.

From 1982 to 1986 he was employed with Norton Smith & Co., solicitors in Sydney.

From 1985 to 1988 he was employed by London shipping lawyers, Hill Dickinson, during which time he was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England.

Upon returning to Australia in 1988, Drew resumed employment as a senior associate in the shipping department of Norton Smith & Co and was appointed a partner of that firm in 1989 and Head of Shipping in 1990.

Drew graduated with a Master of Laws from Sydney University in 1999.

From 2006 to 2009, Drew worked in Singapore as a partner with a London based maritime law firm.

Since returning to Australia in 2009, Drew has been a Consultant with Aus Ship Lawyers.

Drew has acted in many of the leading cases on admiralty and maritime jurisdiction in Australia.

Gregory Nell SC

Gregory NellGregory Nell SC has been practising at the New South Wales Bar since August 1991, predominantly in the area of Admiralty and Maritime Law.

Gregory graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in December 1983.

From 1984 to 1987, he was employed with Norton Smith & Co, solicitors in Sydney.

From 1987 to 1989 he was employed by London shipping lawyers Hill Dickinson, during which time he will admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England.

Upon returning to Australia, Gregory briefly resumed employment as a senior associate in the shipping department of Norton Smith & Co., before being called to the Bar in August 1991.

Gregory graduated with a Master of Laws from Sydney University in 2000 and was appointed Senior Counsel in October 2006.

Since his admission to the Bar, Gregory has appeared in many of the leading cases on admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

Course information

Course code
LAWS7865

Course profile

CPD

This course may also be taken as a CPD course or a non-award course. 

CPD details and applications