Lex Maritima Law and Legal Definition

Lex maritima refers to a body of oral rules, customs and usages relating to navigation and maritime commerce. Lex maritima was developed in medieval Western Europe from the ninth to the twelfth centuries as part of a wider, customary mercantile law, and was administered by merchant judges. The lex maritima was gradually codified in early maritime law compilations under the Laws of Wisby in the sixteenth century. It underlies much of contemporary maritime law, not only in civilian countries, but even in common law jurisdictions such as England and Canada, and, in particular, may be found in the general maritime law of the U.S.