Admiralty law and the sea law lay a basic framework for free trade and commerce across the world’s oceans and seas, where outside of a country’s zone of control. Shipping companies operate through ordinary principles of commercial law, generalised for a global market. Admiralty law also encompasses specialised issues such as salvage, maritime liens, and injuries to passengers. Law and commerceCompany law sprang from the law of trusts, on the principle of separating ownership of property and control. The law of the modern company began with the Joint Stock Companies Act 1856, passed in the United Kingdom, which provided investors with a simple registration procedure to gain limited liability under the separate legal personality of the corporation.

Definitions of law often raise the question of the extent to which law incorporates morality. John Austin’s utilitarian answer was that law is “commands, backed by threat of sanctions, from a sovereign, to …