The Admiralty Court Act, of 2000 is the main law which empowers the court to try suits related to admiralty matters which mainly focused on the ownership of ships and matters related to ships.

Jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court in Bangladesh


Section 03 of the Admiralty Court Act, 2000 deals with the jurisdiction of the admiralty court. Sub-section 01 of section-03 confers the High Court Division (HCD) of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to hear and determine any questions or claims regarding admiralty. Under sub-section 02 of section-03, the HCD will accept the issues related to-

  • Claim to the possession of the ship.
  • Claim for the ownership of the ship.
  • Disputes arising out of the employment, possession or income of the ship.
  • Disputes related to the co-ownership of the ship.
  • Access to the sea and other maritime territories of the other states.
  • Damages of the ships and damages that are done by the damaged ships.
  • Claim for the loss of life or any personal injury which is directly or indirectly related to the ship.
  • Claim for the goods that have been lost or damaged.
  • Claims relating to seizure or disqualification for use of any ship or goods carried or attempted to be carried by any ship or claim for return of seized ship or cargo or claims relating to droits of admiralty.


Cases related to the Admiralty jurisdiction under Section-03:


Global Traders vs. MV Guijang VI & others (2005) 57 DLR 89

No maritime liability arises if the goods in question are not lost or damaged and it is visible in the evidence.

 Giasuddin (Md) vs. MV Forum power and ors. (2001) 53 DLR (AD) 19

No prior permission is needed from the Customs Officer regarding the supply of goods and services to the ship in distress and anchored at any port in Bangladesh as it is not barred by law and HCD’s reasoning is not justified on the basis that the customs officer’s permission in this regard is necessary.

Marine Oil Broking Pte Ltd vs MV Daizu Maru and others (2003) 55 DLR 477

Action in rem against the ship and its owner under a time charter would be considered in the court but when the time exceeded and the claimant was not diligent enough to protect his own right, then this relief could not be claimed.

Calculation of Settling Amount:


Under sub-section 03 of section-02, the HCD has the jurisdiction to settle the amount by selling the ship or the goods that are in question and the amount indicates the below ones-

  1. The outstanding amount
  2. The unsettled amount between the parties of the suit.


Case law:

Sonali Bank vs. Bengal Liner Ltd. and others, (2005)10 MLR 209


Decree-holder is not required to file an execution case because the application for the realization of decretal money is quite maintainable.

A decree of the Admiralty Court is a money decree which can be satisfied by selling both moveable and immovable property.

Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is not applicable to the execution proceedings of the Admiralty Court. Rule 35 of the Admiralty Court Rules of 1912 is applicable to the Admiralty Court Proceedings. After the repeal of Letters Patent by The Law Reforms Ordinance of 1978, Part IX and Part XLIX of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 have no manner application to the Admiralty Court Proceedings.

Modes of Exercise Under Admiralty Court:


  • Section 04 deals with the cases in personam which will be entertained by the HCD.
  • The admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court Division as an admiralty court shall be exercised by action in rem against the ship or property concerned under this section.
  • In case of a maritime lien or another charge, the HCD will exercise its power as of by action in rem against the said ship, aircraft or property concerned.


Suit filing through plaint:


According to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (Act V of 1908), a case shall be filed in the admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court Division –

  1. by a written, signed and attested application,
  2. in the case of urgent cases, the ship or the defendant shall be described in the application as the “owner or party in interest” in lieu of the asset being sued against.



Doon Valley Rice Limited vs. M.V. YUE YANG, [16 BLD (HCD) 469]


The cargo in question has been allegedly delivered to a person who is not entitled to it under the bill of lading and as such, it is a case of total non-delivery of goods.

“Damages done to the goods” as appearing in section 6 of the Admiralty Court Act, 1861 is to be constructive damages. It is thus evident that it shall apply to the non-delivery or short-delivery of goods as in the present case.

The instant the suit readily comes within the ambit of the Admiralty Court Act, 1861 and consequently, it is maintainable.


National Steel Industries Limited vs M.V. Ritz and others, [19 BLD (HCD) 240]


The High Court of Admiralty shall have jurisdiction over any claim by the owner, or consignee, or assignee of any bill of lading of any goods carried into any port in England or Wales in any ship, for damage done to the goods o any part thereof by the negligence or misconduct of or for any breach of duty or breach of duty or breach of contract on the part of the owner, master, or crew of the ship, unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the Court that at the time of the institution of the cause, any owner or part owner of the ship is domiciled in England or Wales: Provided always, that if in any such case, the plaintiff does not recover Twenty Pounds, he shall not be entitled to any costs, charges or expenses incurred by him therein, unless the judge shall clarify the cause was a fit one to be tried in the said court.

It appears that in order to attract section 06 of the Admiralty Court Act, 1861 “goods have to be carried into any port of “England or Wales” and as far we are concerned for the words, “England or Wales” obviously we are to read “Bangladesh”.

In the instant case, the cargo in question had never been brought to any port in Bangladesh by the defendant no. 1 vessel. Unless the goods in question are carried into any port of Bangladesh, section 6 of the Admiralty Court Act, 1861 cannot be made applicable and as such the plaint is liable to be returned.


 The exception to filing cases related to action in personam:


  1. the defendant has a residence or place of business in Bangladesh.
  2. Cause of action inside the territorial waters of Bangladesh.
  3. Pending the suit for hearing before the court.




Counsels Law Partners (CLP) offers services on admiralty-related matters. However, if you need any legal help or clarification about admiralty-related matters, please reach us at:

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