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Maritime Law Glossary G - J

Glossary A - B | Glossary C | Glossary D - F | Glossary L -N | Glossary O - P | Glossary R - S | Glossary T - Z


General Maritime Law – A body of legal precedents and doctrines developed by U.S. Courts in maritime and admiralty litigation. General maritime law consists of federal common law.


Himalaya Clause – A clause in a bill of lading extending the carrier’s defenses and limitations under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act to third parties, generally employees, agents and independent contractors. U.S. Courts strictly construe this type of clause.


In Personam Jurisdiction – A court’s power to bring a person into its adjudicative process.

In Rem – A court’s power to adjudicate the rights to a given piece of property. This power includes the power to seize and to hold the property.

Indemnification – The action of compensating for loss or damage sustained or reimbursing another for a loss suffered because of a third party’s or one’s own act or default.

Injunctive Relief – A type of relief available to a party whereby the court issues an order commanding or preventing an action. In order to obtain injunctive relief, a party must show that there is no plain, adequate and complete remedy at law and that an irreparable injury will result unless the relief is granted.

Inland Rules – A set of federal navigation rules that apply to all vessels upon inland waters of the United States. These rules provide for specific rules of conduct for vessels.

Insurance – A contract by which one party agrees to indemnify another party against risk of loss, damage or liability arising from the occurrence of some specified contingency.

Intentional Wrongs – A civil wrong that a person commits knowingly or purposefully. Under the general common law of torts, a person may be legally responsible under general maritime law for intentional wrongs, including assault and battery, false imprisonment and conversion.

International Law – The legal system comprised of treaties, agreements and conventions governing the relationships between nations. In the maritime context, international law may apply if an injury or loss occurs outside of the jurisdiction of the United States.

International Law of the Sea – An international agreement that defines the rights and responsibilities of nations when using international bodies of water. The agreement also sets forth rules for businesses and for protecting the environment.


Jason Clause – A bill-of-lading clause requiring cargo owners to pay general average contributions to a carrier in instances where the carrier is at fault but is not statutorily responsible for the cargo loss or damage in an accident.

Joint and Several Liability – Under the legal theory of joint and several liability, one defendant can be held legally responsible to pay an entire award to a plaintiff, even if other defendants were involved. This theory permits a plaintiff to seek full recovery from one defendant. A general maritime law defendant may be held jointly and severally liable with any and all other defendants under general maritime law and the Jones Act. In general, if one tortfeasor pays a disproportionate share of damages in a plaintiff's judgment, that tortfeasor can seek contribution from other tortfeasors to pay their fair share.

Jones Act – A federal statute that allows a seaman injured during the course of employment to recover damages for the injuries in a negligence action against the employer. The Jones Act also allows an injured seaman to receive maintenance and cure benefits from his or her employer.

Judicial Review – A court’s power to review the actions of other branches or levels of government.

Jurisdiction – A government’s general power to exercise authority over all persons and things within its territory.

Jury Trial – A legal proceeding where a group of people selected by law decide questions of fact and issue a final judgment in accordance with their determinations. Depending on the maritime statute involved in a case, a maritime claimant may have a right to a jury trial.

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