WMU International Maritime Law Summer Academy 2023

The week-long World Maritime University (WMU) Summer Academy programme on International Maritime Law commenced on 28 August. Professionals from 15 different countries joined the programme that included an impressive roster of guest lecturers in addition to WMU faculty, and was moderated by The Right Hon Lord Nicholas Hamblen of Kersey, Justice of the Supreme Court for the United Kingdom.

Professor Max Mejia, WMU President, welcomed the participants saying, “Law-based order is a sine qua non for navigating the intricate international nature of this industry. Maritime law is essential to, among others, maintaining order, establishing standards, resolving disputes, and protecting rights.”

In his opening remarks, Lord Hamblen emphasized the importance of clarity and certainty as a long-established approach of English commercial law judges, and a judicial philosophy he follows personally. He maintained that clarity and certainty are important considerations for all legal and analytical work. He explained that clarity involves organizing your work into a logical structure and providing explanations in plain and easily understandable language, and certainty is being clear in what you are saying and what legal advice you are giving in your judgment. “One important skill set, and one I am still working on, is to simplify. To drill down to the essentials. It’s often helpful to strip away the complex layers of competing arguments, and seek to identify the key points and principles in issue, and to focus on those. Doing so will aid both clarity, and certainty,” said Lord Hamblen.   

Maritime transport is an essential pillar for world trade, carrying over 80% of international merchandise by volume. In the unique international setting provided by WMU, with a combination of lectures and participant interaction, participants learned about the contractual needs of commercial parties as one aspect of maritime law. As these needs cannot be viewed in isolation of the challenges for shipping and the existing complex regulatory environment, the programme also introduced participants to the realm of maritime claims in a wider context, including areas such as ship registration, marine insurance, decarbonization, salvage, and compulsory liability. Further, the curriculum extended to electronic transport documents in light of cyberthreats. In addition, the repercussions that will ensue for shipping from autonomous ships was addressed as well as the impact of sanctions for shipping.   

‍About the WMU Summer Academy

The World Maritime University (WMU) is a unique academic institution, founded within the framework of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The University has a reputation for bringing together stakeholders such as academics, researchers, professionals, and industry experts to explore cross-cutting topics faced by the maritime industry. Launched in 2022, the WMU Summer Academy provides a unique opportunity for these stakeholders to gather and share knowledge, as well as collaborate on potential solutions that will directly benefit the maritime industry. Each year, multiple one-week programmes offer the opportunity for participants to focus on topics of current importance in the maritime and oceans sectors. Topics offered in 2023 include Maritime Decarbonization, International Maritime Law, and Current Issues in Ports and Terminals.

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