The IMO International Maritime Law Institute is a world recognized
centre for the training of law graduates in international maritime
law. Special emphasis is given to international regulations adopted
by the International Maritime Organization.
The Institute provides suitably qualified candidates, particularly
from developing countries, with high-level facilities for advanced
training, study and research in international maritime law. It also
focuses on legislative drafting techniques designed to assist
participants in the process of incorporating international treaty
rules into domestic law.
One of the essential requirements for operating a shipping or
maritime programme is the ability to implement international
conventions and instruments adopted by IMO and other relevant
international organizations. For this purpose, States need to have
appropriate legal infrastructure which incorporates the provisions
of the respective conventions and instruments into national law and
which has well-established procedures for applying and enforcing
the requirements of the applicable law in all relevant situations.
The appropriate legal infrastructure in each State should consist
of an up-to-date legislative regime, with a suitable machinery for
the review, revision and modification of that legislation, to keep
it in line with changes in international maritime law and the
latest developments in marine technology and shipping practices.
For this purpose the State, as well as the shipping industry,
requires the services of well-trained legal personnel with
specialization in maritime and shipping law. There is also need for
persons with expertise and skills in the preparation and drafting
of legislative instruments, including the preparation of primary
legislation (codes, statutes, etc.) as well as the necessary
subsidiary legislation (regulations and rules) for implementing the
principal instruments at State and industry levels.
Although many developing countries have reasonable numbers of
legally trained persons, they do not always have the required
numbers of persons with the necessary specialization or expertise
in maritime law. To meet these needs, IMO has included, as a vital
part of its technical co-operation programme, projects for the
provision of technical advice and assistance in maritime law and
legislation. Under this programme, advice and assistance have been
provided on request to States on the planning and preparation for
new or updated maritime legislation. Such advice and assistance
have been provided by IMO's interregional advisers or, where
appropriate, by short-term consultants or experts recruited in
consultation with the Government concerned.
Interregional advisers prepare their recommendations after one or
several short visits to the countries, whereas consultants and
experts are recruited for relatively longer periods, usually of
three to six months' duration.
While advisory services along these lines have been useful to many
States, it is generally recognized that such assistance can only be
of limited benefit and cannot provide an effective long-term answer
to the needs of these countries. What each developing country needs
is not only a good maritime law regime, but also a reasonable cadre
of national legal personnel who are available to oversee, on a
systematic basis, the implementation of existing law, to review and
evaluate the provisions and arrangements for their implementation,
to advise on the need for new or revised laws and regulations and,
as necessary, to prepare suitable texts for consideration and
adoption by the relevant legislative bodies. This is a crucial
role, which must necessarily be discharged on a continuous basis if
it is to be effectively discharged. It is therefore a need which
cannot be met by occasional visits of advisers, or even by experts
who can only stay for limited periods.
Therefore, the IMO International Maritime Law Institute was
established in 1988 through an international agreement between IMO
and the Government of Malta.