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Proctor in Admiralty

The term "Proctor in Admiralty" applies to lawyers entitled to represent clients in maritime litigation. Originally derived from the Roman word "Procurator," when the Roman word was translated into English, the term "Proctor" was used by the Admiralty Courts set up in England in the 13th century. Those courts had jurisdiction over disputes within the Royal Navy as well as purely commercial maritime matters.

The designation of being a "Proctor" was continued in the American colonies. After an attorney passed the bar examination, an additional bar exam was required for attorneys who wished to practice Admiralty or Patent law. Over time, the requirement of a separate bar exam for Admiralty law was eliminiate.

Earning the designation as a "Proctor in Admiralty" typically requires at least six (6) years practicing in the federal court system and only after the recommendation of two existing Proctor's in Admiralty to a peer review committee who evaluates a variety of factors including the applicants litigation experience, speaking engagements, publications, and contribution to the field of maritime law.

The designation of "Proctor" was used in the federal court system in the United States until 1966 when the Admiralty Rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were unified. Although the term "Proctor" is no longer in official usage, many associations use the term to distinguish their members as practicing maritime attorneys.

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Additional Resources

Maritime Law Association of the U.S. - Grants the designation as a "Proctor" in order "to designate the most distinguished class of membership for practicing maritime attorneys." 

This article was last updated on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.