Admiralty law deals with legal issues that may arise in the course of commerce and travel between distant lands and foreign states. As the United States Constitution (Art. I, § 8, Cl. 3) puts interstate and international commerce under the regulatory power of the federal government, the foremost source of modern American admiralty law is federal court decisions and federal legislation. Despite this, the laws of the individual states of the United States may still control certain claims in admiralty litigation. Remedies available under the “savings” clause of 28 U.S.C. § 1333 may be based in state law. Other legal theories may also require state law to apply. Whenever state and federal law may appear to have competing claims to control in litigation, issues of preemption, jurisdiction, and venue must be researched, as well.
To research state law, remember that primary sources of state law will include a state’s Constitution, state statutes, state regulations and state case decisions. For secondary sources on state law, jurisdiction-specific law journals, legal newspapers, treatises, practice materials, encyclopedia, legislative material and the like should be consulted. For resources related to the various states, begin with print and online material appropriate to the jurisdiction in question, or ask a Reference Librarian for assistance. Some Pennsylvania legal resources are listed below:
Pennsylvania Statutes & Court Rules (KFP 1930 .A44)
Pennsylvania Code (Regulations)
Pennsylvania Legislation—Pennsylvania General Assembly