Phillip Buhler


Phillip Buhler



Mr. Buhler holds a B.A. from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, and an LL.M. (Admiralty) from Tulane University School of Law.

Phillip Buhler has practiced law in the United States for over thirty years. His practice has focused on most aspects of maritime law, representing shipowners, operators, P & I Clubs and other commercial interests in a wide range of casualty and commercial matters, including cargo claims, oil spills, collisions, personal injury and death claims, government regulatory matters, international trade and intermodal transportation contracts. Mr. Buhler has extensive Federal court litigation experience and has maintained a trial and appellate court practice in the southeast US. He is licensed in the Federal and state courts of Florida, Louisiana and the District of Columbia, as well as the United States Supreme Court, the US Court of Federal Claims and the US Court of International Trade. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Admiralty and Maritime Law and in International Law. He is also the editor of Benedicts on Admiralty, Volume 6 series (International Maritime Law).

In 2017-2018 Mr. Buhler was a lecturer (Dozent) in Intermodal Transportation and US Civil Procedure at the Universitat zu Koeln in Cologne, Germany, and in 2018-2019 he was a lecturer (Dozent) in maritime law at the Universitat Hamburg. Prior to commencing his law practice he served as a law clerk for a United States District Judge in Miami, as an Advance-Office aide to Vice-President George Bush and in the office of United States Senator Paula Hawkins of Florida.

Mr. Buhler has been extensively involved in professional and international bar organizations throughout his career. He served on the Board of Directors of the Maritime Law Association of the United States (USMLA), and chaired its International Organizations, Conventions and Standards Committee, during which he became involved with issues relating to Polar shipping (leading in part to his current research interest). He also served on the Executive Council of the Inter-American Bar Association and chaired its International Law Committee, at a time when he had significant law practice involvement in Latin America. He is currently on the Board of the Florida Bar International Law Section and has chaired a number of state and local bar and business associations.

The most pertinent international bar association with which Mr. Buhler is involved is the Comite Maritime International (CMI). He serves on its Polar Shipping International Working Group (chaired by Prof. Aldo Chircop) and its Antarctica Subcommittee. In 2016 he co-chaired a symposium on Polar Shipping issues with Prof. Chircop during a joint meeting of the CMI and the USMLA in New York. It is his work on Polar shipping in CMI and the USMLA, and especially his association with Prof. Chircop, that convinced him to come to Dalhousie to pursue his PhD.

His PhD research topic is the development of regulation for commercial shipping in the Polar regions utilizing goal-based standards and other forms of non-prescriptive approaches including meta-regulation and soft law. This will be viewed as a potential model for broader application to most areas of maritime regulation. A particular sub-issue that has become of interest since his arrival at Dalhousie is the impact of international regulations upon the Indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic, and he intends to explore application of some newer regulatory theories to properly address the interests and concerns of the impacted inhabitants and also to utilize their local knowledge and expertise for better regulatory development in this unique region.

Publication Date



maritime law, international commercial law, maritime regulation, commercial shipping regulation


Admiralty | Commercial Law | International Law | Law of the Sea


Recent Presentations:

Mr. Buhler has presented many lectures and CLE programs during his career to national and international bar and business associations in the United States and Latin America. These have covered a wide range of subjects in the fields of maritime law, international commercial law and civil court practice, on such topics as marine environmental damage, port regulations, pre-judgment security in international litigation, the CAFTA and Admiralty and international civil procedure. In the last few years his focus has been on development of regulations for Polar shipping and the progress in this area generated by the International Maritime Organization, the Arctic Council and in the national legislation of the United States and Canada. He most recently presented programs on these topics before the Coastal Zone Canada Conference in Halifax and the Untied States Maritime Law Association in New York.

Recent Publications:

US Polar Policy and Implementation and Interpretation of the Polar Code: Background, Practice and Prognosis, The Journal of International Maritime Law, Vol. 24, Issue 6 (Nov-Dec. 2018).

The Application of International Maritime Law in the United States: An Overview with Emphasis on Jurisdictional and Procedural Considerations (transl.), in Junker, K.W. (ed), US-Rechtspraxis: Praxishandbuch Zivilrecht und Offentliches Recht (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017).

Promotion of the Concept of the Rule of Law Through the Implementation of the Central America Free Trade Agreement,International Law Quarterly Vol. XXIII, No.1 (Florida Bar, Fall, 2007); IABA Law Review Vol. 5 (2007).

Transnational Service of Process and Discovery in Federal Court Proceedings: An Overview, Tulane Maritime Law Journal Vol. 27, No.1 (Winter 2002).

New Struggle With an Old Menace: Towards a Revised Definition of Maritime Piracy, Currents International Trade Law Journal, Vol. VIII, No.2 (Winter 1999).

Forum Selection and Choice of Law Clauses in International Contracts: A United States Viewpoint with Particular Reference to Maritime Contracts and Bills of Lading, Inter-American Law Review, Vol. 27, No.1 (Fall 1995).

The Oder-Neisse Line: A Reappraisal Under International Law (N.Y: Columbia University Press and East European Monographs, 1990).

Phillip Buhler