International waters are governed by maritime law and therefore, in the case of an accident or crime occurring offshore, the laws will determine how the case proceeds and the amount of compensation. These rulings will take place in a standard court proceeding but wading through maritime law and determining whether it has jurisdiction in your particular situation, can be confusing. While understanding what typically happens in maritime proceedings is definitely an important first step, your best bet is speaking to a maritime lawyer who will offer high-level support and attention to you and your situation.

Maritime Law

When someone is in international waters and too far away from the shore of any country or state, maritime law comes into play. The jurisdiction for maritime law is not always perfectly defined or understandable, but generally, these laws rule over international locations where there is no land within 20 miles of the ship or person. This law governs both criminal and civil cases with one or more individuals who are involved in a legal matter. 

The Intricacies of Maritime Law

Depending on the case’s circumstances, there are various other organizations that may get involved. This could include the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), or even a foreign government. Certain situations in maritime law where the coast guard of the country nearest the location will be called on to help and enforce laws. 

Other organizations may become involved in the process if the injured party is near enough to a country with different policies that can affect the case. If the issue is administrative or regulatory, a standard court case may not occur. The IMO generally will enforce the maritime law and ensure that all safety protocols have been followed will different authorities may govern over the issue and proceed with foreign policies. One of our maritime lawyers will help you to understand the role of each organization that’s involved and how it could affect your case. There are significant differences if you are involved in a civil matter versus a criminal matter which is yet another thing that your lawyer will help you to understand.

  • Request a free, no obligation consultation.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.