Admiralty Jurisdiction and Practice

Page 87


Exercise of jurisdiction


3.1 Having considered in the scope of the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court, it is necessary to consider in this chapter the manner in which that jurisdiction may be exercised, and the limits imposed by law upon the exercise of that jurisdiction. Admiralty jurisdiction may be exercised in personam or in rem.1 The exercise of in personam jurisdiction does not raise any peculiar difficulties as an Admiralty claim in personam is essentially no different to a claim in the Commercial Court or in the Queen’s Bench Division. All cases within the jurisdiction may be brought by an Admiralty claim in personam, but the unique and most important feature of litigation in the Admiralty Court is the ability in certain cases and in certain circumstances to bring an Admiralty claim in rem. The words used by Coote2 in 1860 are equally applicable today:

“I will commence with the action in rem, being that which is most resorted to, and which constitutes the peculiarity of the Court of Admiralty, and gives to it an advantage over other Courts having concurrent jurisdiction.”

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