Report No. 151
3.8. E.E.C. Convention.-
To bring the position up-to-date, it may be mentioned that the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act, 1982, has enacted into English and Scottish Law, the European Economic Commission Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters.
3.9. The aforesaid references to a series of statutes should not mislead one into believing that the law administered in admiralty courts are derived from and confined to Statutes only. "The wide jurisdiction vested in the English Courts is derived from ancient principles of maritime law developed by custom and practice as well as from subsequent statutes many of which have incorporated the provisions of International Conventions unifying the laws practised in several maritime countries"1.
In the words of Holdsworth "Modern Legislation has restored to the Court of Admiralty many of the powers and much of the Jurisdiction of which it had been deprived in the Seventeenth century. But Admiralty taw has lost the international character which it once possessed. It is essentially English Law. The Law which is administrated in the Admiralty court of England is the English maritime law.
It is not the ordinary municipal law of the country, but it is the law which the English Court of Admiralty, either by Act of Parliament or by reiterated decisions and traditions and principles, has adopted as the English maritime law. Neither the laws of the Rhodians, nor of Oleron, nor of Visby, nor of the Hanse towns, are of themselves any part of Admiralty law of England But they contain many principles and statements of marine practice, which together with principles found in the Digest, and in the French, and other Ordinances, were used by the Judges of the English Court of Admiralty, when they were moulding and reducing to form the principles and practice of their court"2.
1. Elizabeth v. Harwan Investment etc., JT 1992 (2) SC 65 (82).
2. A History of England lawe, Vol. I, pp 558-59.