The Court of Admiralty of Ireland, 1575–1893



In 1575 the Lord Admiral of England, Edward Clinton, appointed Ambrose Forth as the first judge of the Admiralty in Ireland. Between 1575 and 1893 an independent Court of Admiralty functioned in Ireland, processing civil disputes over matters like seamen’s wages, collision and salvage. The Court of Admiralty of Ireland is an institutional history of this tribunal over its 300-hundred-year existence. It describes the often colourful, and sometimes venal, personalities of those men – like Adam Loftus, William Petty, Hugh Baillie and Jonah Barrington – who served as judges of this court, and deals with the jurisdictional and doctrinal controversies in which the Irish Court of Admiralty was so regularly involved.

Kevin Costello is a lecturer in the faculty of law, University College Dublin, and the author of The law of habeas corpus in Ireland (2006).

The Irish Legal History Society examines, explores, and engages with all issues relating to the legal history of Ireland, from earliest time to the present day. Founded in 1988, the Society holds two Discourses annually, as well as publishing scholarly works on a range of legal history subjects.