ADMIRALTY is a subdivision of the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice. The Court consists of two judges (who are alto judges in probate and divorce cases), and exercises not only the jurisdiction given to it by the Judicature Acts, 1873, but also all the jurisdiction previously possessed by the High Court of Admiralty. Actions which are maintainable in the Admiralty Division may all be called Admiralty actions. The practice relating to them differs from that of the other divisions of the High Court, particularly in the process in rem, which is peculiar to Admiralty actions. By the process in rem, the property which has given rise to the cause of action can be arrested and made liable to satisfy the plaintiff. This is the process by which a ship may be arrested, and held in port until security is given or the claim settled. The arrest is effected under the authority of a warrant issued out of the Admiralty registry. To obtain it an affidavit as to the facts of the case must be filed. It is executed by nailing or fixing for a short time on the main mast or single mast of the vessel, and then leaving a copy in its place. In case of a wrongful arrest, an action will lie for damages.
The following are the causes of action maintainable in the Admiralty Division :—Salvage, both on the high seas and within the territorial limits of the country ; life salvage of persons on board British ships in any waters, and foreign ships in British waters, or anywhere, with the consent of their governments ; bottomry ; necessaries supplied to foreign ships ; possession of ships. The following actions are also properly brought in the Admiralty
Division :—Collision or damage both to property and persons by ships ; damage to cargo carried in any foreign ship; towage on the high seas and within a county ; wages and pilotage earned by masters, seamen, and any persons employed on board a ship; disbursements by master on account of the ship; mortgage, in actions by mortgagees of a ship, if she is under process of the Court, or if the mortgage was registered under the Merchants Shipping Acts ; questions as to title, ownership, and management of ships.
All County Courts having an Admiralty jurisdiction, have such jurisdiction limited to the amount of the different claims as follows :—Salvage, where the value of the salved property does not exceed i)1000, or the claim for reward 1'300 ; towage, necessaries, and wages, where the claim does not exceed .P1.50. Claims for damages up to .e300. If the parties so agree these limits may be exceeded. The County Courts also have a special jurisdiction over claims arising out of breaches or charter parties, and other contracts for carriage of goods in foreign ships, or torts (wrongs) in respect thereof.