BOOK REVIEW – MARITIME LAW (5th edition)
Edited by Professor Yvonne Baatz. Informa Law from Routledge, Abingdon (2021) cxi and 608 pp, plus 13 pp Index. Hardback £152; paperback £45.59; ebook £45.59.
Hot on the heels of the establishment of the Tulane Maritime Law Center, the University of Southampton’s Institute of Maritime Law was established. We are coming up to the 40th anniversary of both institutions. Southampton’s IML originally made its mark with an annual short course which has provided an all-round introduction to the subject mainly for younger professionals beginning a career in maritime law practice but without the benefit of initial education about the subject in university courses on it. There has always been a view that students need not, indeed perhaps should not, study maritime law or even law itself at university, since “professional” subjects can be picked up on the job after a more liberal, mind-broadening university education. Unfortunately, although clearly practical expertise is best acquired on the job, clients in shipping law disputes are unlikely to want to rely on lack of a good general legal education with appropriate expertise. As shipping and the law develop and become more complex and difficult, maritime law needs expertise. At least, the Ormrod Report in the 1960s recognised the basic necessity for aspiring lawyers to be university graduates; and fortunately more universities now provide maritime law courses. This is advantageous not only for university maritime law students and future practitioners but for the wider maritime law community, for the community of dedicated maritime law scholars is required to expand its knowledge and expertise, in particular in relation to emerging subjects, and to publish its findings and views to be available to anyone seeking illumination on maritime law issues.
Alongside other notable publications, the book under review is one of the more prominent products of Southampton’s IML. Originally published in 2008 as Southampton on Shipping Law, it has reached its 5th edition in only 13 years. Throughout that time it has been produced by a team of present and, increasingly, past members of IML. As with its students, IML members and their book have spread throughout the world.
And, inevitably, the book itself has spread. Alongside a generally expanding body of case and statute law, the new edition covers recent amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules, revised Incoterms and, of course, Brexit, an event which is now past but will continue to require adjustment to the evolving law. Given the scope and size of its subject matter, the book remains a useful vade mecum but also continues to reveal its origins in a collection of contributions by different authors on different topics. If it is to remain a standard introduction to the whole subject, its next challenge may be to reorganise its subject matter into a more conventional textbook format. For the present, however, it maintains its obviously successful form.