In any sphere of business activity it is necessary to understand the applicable legal rules in order to be able to minimize the risk of problems arising and to be aware of what the position is when any problem does actually arise. This is especially so as it may become apparent during or after negotiations intended to bring about a commercial relationship, that the ingredients which create a ‘commercial obligation’ may not necessarily create a legal obligation. Thus, when faced with a possibility of a court action the parties may find that their legal position is vastly different from that which they supposed would result from their commercial relationship. Although different jurisdictions may have different legal structures and principles, this course is based upon English Law on the basis that the working of any system of law will be comprehensible if a good grasp of English law is obtained. Of course, much shipping law is based on International Conventions which aim to create uniformity in all ‘maritime’ nations. Such law is then incorporated into several jurisdictions and thus English law will have corresponding and equivalent foreign provisions.