Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2014

Maritime Law--Presentation at the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute on International Conventions

On June 27, 2014, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute ("SEALI") in New Orleans, Louisiana at their Annual Seminar on the topic titled "International Conventions and Their Applicability to U.S. Maritime Cases." My partner in this presentation was Kate Goodsell of Cassidy & Black, P.A.

My portion of the presentation focused on how rules of international law are established in the United States, the International Salvage Convention of 1989 and the Maritime Labour Convention. I briefly discuss each of these in turn.

International Law as U.S. Law

Rules of international law can be established in the United States in three principal ways: (1) by international agreement between countries; (2) international custom; and (3) by derivation of principles common to major world legal systems. Since its inception, the United States has recognized that international legal commitments are binding upon it both internationally and domestically…

Maritime Law-To Litigate or to Arbitrate? That is the Question

In this industry, it is generally presumed that arbitration is preferable to litigation. However three recent high-profile arbitral awards highlight the risks of arbitration and demonstrate that, contrary to widespread belief, arbitration is often not cheaper, faster or more predictable than litigation. These three awards, though not strictly maritime in nature, call into question the common practice among corporations of including contractual provisions mandating arbitration in the event of any and every dispute. This is because despite the fact that these decisions are not strictly maritime, the emerging trend in arbitral proceedings also leads to questioning this common practice. As coined by a local judge that will remain nameless, the word "arbitrary" is the root word for the word "arbitration".
In the first case, there were arbitration proceedings that were pending for nearly eight years involving a patent license agreement between the technology companies Amk…

Maritime Law--Latin America and Legal Reform? Is it Possible?

A few reports have come out that question recent legal and litigation reform in Latin America. The first comes from Mexico, where 337 mostly foreign-owned sailboats and yachts at 11 marinas around Mexico were impounded. While nearly half of all vessels have been freed, as of earlier this year, over 100 remain impounded, tied up in red tape and confusion in raids that initially seemed aimed at rooting out tax cheats and boat thieves. Mexico's Tax Service Administration, the equivalent to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, said in a statement that "the republic reiterates its commitment to promote legality and support tourism...for the benefit of Mexicans." Many foreigners had to scramble to prove that they were the rightful owners of their vessels, as well as the vessel's legal status in Mexico. In Mexico, boat owners are not required to pay tax or duty if they have a 10-year Temporary Import Permit, which costs around $50. The second report relates to companies doing …