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The name of a jurisdiction which takes cognizance of suits or actions which arise in consequence of acts done upon or relating to the sea; or, in other words, of all transactions and proceedings relative to commerce and navigation, and to damages or injuries upon the sea. In the great maritime nations of Europe, the term 'admiralty jurisdiction,' is, uniformly applied to courts exercising jurisdiction over maritime contracts and concerns. It is as familiarly known among the jurists of Scotland, France, Holland and Spain, as of England, and applied to their own courts, possessing substantially the same jurisdiction as the English Admiralty had in the reign of Edward III.
The Constitution of the United States has delegated to the courts of the national government cognizance 'of all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;' and the act of September 24, 1789, ch. 20 s. 9, has given the district court 'cognizance of all civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction,' including all seizures under laws of imposts, navigation or trade of the United States, where the seizures are made on waters navigable from the sea, by vessels of ten or more tons burden, within their respective districts, as well as upon the high seas.