On September 30 2010 the Admiralty Court was formally launched in Kuala Lumpur by Chief Judge of the Federal Court of Malaysia Zaki bin Tun Azmi. The court is designed to meet the needs and expectations of various stakeholders within the maritime industry for a specialist court, as articulated through the Shipping and Admiralty Law Committee, a specialist sub-committee of the Malaysian Bar Council.

The new court aims to give litigants the option, by consent, to have all their claims litigated and resolved expeditiously at one centralised location, in a court that routinely deals with such matters. In his speech officiating the launch, the chief judge announced that a target date of nine months has been set for the disposal of all cases filed in the specialist court. Two High Court judges will preside over the court and will be assisted by an Admiralty Registry that comprises registrars, clerks and bailiffs. The new set-up of the court guarantees that an admiralty registrar will be available at all times, even outside business hours in urgent matters, to ensure the court's efficient operation. Similarly, the judges will be available to hear and adjudicate on urgent matters arising outside business hours.

With effect from October 31 2010, the specialist court has the jurisdiction to try the following admiralty and maritime claims:

  • claims or disputes relating to the 18 categories of admiralty matters identified by reference to Section 24(b) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964;
  • claims relating to international trade and commerce transactions, including commercial and shipping agreements, imports and exports, and carriage of goods by sea;
  • limitation actions;
  • marine insurance and reinsurance claims, including marine and shipping agency and brokerage matters;
  • claims relating to the construction, design, maintenance and repair of ships;
  • civil claims arising out of marine pollution;
  • marine-related agency, multimodal transport and warehousing claims;
  • claims related to ship financing and documentary credit for the carriage of goods by sea;
  • death or personal injury, loss or damages claims arising out of a marine activity in or around a marine facility. A 'marine facility' shall include ports, docks, berths or any form of structure defined as a 'ship' under maritime law;
  • claims relating to arbitration, interim applications for the preservation of assets pending final arbitration awards, disputes on appointments of arbitrators and the review, setting aside and enforcement of maritime awards;
  • marine regulation and compliance claims; and
  • disputes pertaining to the welfare of seamen.

For further information on this topic please contact Rajasingam Gothandapani at Shearn Delamore & Co by telephone (+60 3 2070 0644), fax (+60 3 2078 5625) or email ([email protected]).