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LLM Curriculum

Admiralty Jurisdiction & Practice


Course Overview:

Second semester, single module course; part of the specialised Masters or Postgraduate Diploma in Shipping Law.

Students wishing to register for this course are required to have an LLB or equivalent degree. The faculty reserves the right to limit classes to 20 students, with preference given to those who are registered for the specialist programme in Shipping Law.

Where possible, guest sessions are presented by practitioners involved in admiralty litigation. Subject to the demands of his practice, Adv. Gys Hofmeyr SC will present part of the course. Although the content is primarily South African, comparisons are made with the law and practice of other jurisdictions, particularly those represented by foreign students in the class.

Course outline:

Part I: Admiralty Jurisdiction:
A full introduction to the jurisprudence of admiralty in South Africa traces the history of the development of Admiralty in the civilian and common law systems; the development and prohibition of Admiralty causes in England, the reception of 19th century English Admiralty law into the Cape and Natal; The maritime lien as the cornerstone of English Admiralty law, and the statutory right in rem; The changes brought about by the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act, 1983; the law presently applicable to Admiralty disputes in SA; and the SA court structure.

Part II: Admiralty Practice:
A full examination of statutory Admiralty practice in SA today; the 'maritime claim' of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act, and the manner in which it may be enforced; Arrest and attachment law and procedure; associated ship arrests, and the arrest and attachment of property other than a ship; security for claims and for costs; declining jurisdiction, stays and joinders; pre-trial evidence, inspection and discovery procedures; judicial sale ranking against funds in court; and an analysis of the Admiralty Court Rules.

A brief overview of the English and American systems is undertaken. Depending on the nationalities of participating students, other countries are compared.

DP requirements:
Satisfactory attendance at and participation in lectures and seminar sessions. Satisfactory completion of two written assignments during the semester.

Two written assignments and one three-hour examination. Assignment marks collectively count 50% towards the year-end course evaluation.