Admiralty Law and Imaginative Precision in Lord Jim

  • Hilton Staniland University of Southampton
Palavras-chave: Literary and Legal Interpretation, International maritime law, Procedures of Courts of Inquiry


In this paper, it is argued that Lord Jim provides verisimilitude in relation to the law and practice of contemporary inquiries and investigations into marine casualties; and that the novel is a case study for academic and practising admiralty lawyers: illustrating the use and abuse of the law and procedures of Courts of Inquiry; exposing violations of the obligations owed by master and officers to their passengers; questioning notions of fair punishment; and suggesting drafting options for the enactment of statutes encouraging cooperation between seafarers and casualty investigators. The interpretation of such enactments should, it is argued, be adapted to the characteristics of the enactments, their interpreters, and their interpretive community at the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations.