Admiralty Clause Law and Legal Definition

Admiralty clause refers to article III, section 2, clause 1 of the U.S Constitution that gives federal courts original jurisdiction over admiralty and maritime cases. The jurisdiction granted is not an exclusive one as most of the maritime cases can be heard in either state or federal courts under the "saving to suitors" clause. There are five types of cases over which federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. They are cases involving limitation of shipowner's liability, vessel arrests in rem, property arrests quasi in rem, salvage cases, and petitory and possession actions. All other maritime cases can be brought either in the federal court or state court.