Dalhousie Law Journal


Shipping Law, History, Canada, British Dominance, Canadian law, British influence


In many areas of Canadian law, the British influence has been pervasive, but in no area has it been more so than in merchant shipping law. Great Britain have long been a seafaring nation and British prosperity and pride have long rested on maritime achievements. Great Britain controlled almost all aspects of colonial merchant shipping, and thus prevented the development of an autonomous Canadian foundation in maritime law. The British influence over Canadian merchant shipping legislation remained pervasive after Confederation and contributed to the failure of Canada to develop a merchant marine, despite Canada being one of the major users of ocean transportation. The current Canadian regime of shipping law, based upon British precedents, is in need of a complete revision if Canada is to take advantage of shipping opportunities presented by recent international political developments, the Arctic, and offshore hydrocarbon exploration. This paper will discuss the enormous British influence on the development of Canadian shipping law.

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