IMO International Maritime Law Institute, Malta

Invitations to the postgraduate IMLI course are issued by IMO in December for the course scheduled to begin in September the following year.† All official nominations must be received by the end of April, and successful candidates are notified by the Institute in time for the commencement of course, usually in mid-September.†

Brochures and application forms are available from the Programme Development and Institutional Development Section of the Technical Co-operation Division.†

All enquiries should be directed to Ms. Pamela Tansey or Mrs. Janie Mapplebeck, fax +44 207 587 3259, email or†


The IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) was established in 1988 in Malta under the auspices of the IMO to provide developing countries with the unique facilities for post-graduate training and research in international maritime law and legislation.† International maritime law is a highly specialized field and IMLI is aimed at providing a concentrated training programme, previously unavailable elsewhere in the world, which would help nationals from developing countries to train a cadre of skilled maritime lawyers.†

IMLI fulfills the need of developing countries to have a reasonable cadre of national legal personnel who are able to oversee, on a systematic basis, the implementation of existing law, to review and evaluation the provisions and arrangements for their implement, to advise on the need for new or revised laws and regulations, and, when necessary, to prepare suitable texts for consideration and adoption by the relevant legislative bodies.

The Institute is administered by a Director under the direction and control of a Governing Board which comprises representatives from some Member Governments, international maritime lawyers and judges and representatives from the shipping industry.† IMLI maintains very strong institutional links with national and international organizations and corporations which are pre‑eminent in the field of shipping.† The entire operational costs of the Institute are met by voluntary contributions, with these organizations and corporations providing support either in sponsorship of fellows or through the provision of visiting lecturers.

IMLIís annual intake does not exceed 25 and its course is very over subscribed with applications for its annual course exceeding its intake by almost three times.† The minimum requirement for admission to the Institute† is a university degree in law with a high standing.†

The course is open to all persons to be appointed or are already serving with Governments or shipping organizations, provided that they are nominated by a Government or other appropriate authority or applicants could apply for admission as private students.† In order to promote the integration of women from developing countries in the formulation of national and international legislative instruments, half of the places on each course are reserved for suitably qualified women candidates.† From the 2001/2002 academic year onwards, the fee for the year-long course is £16,500.†

A large percentage of the intake every year are funded by national shipping concerns or Government agencies and, on completion of their studies.† International donors and the IMO, through its Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme, also offers a few fellowships to IMLI students.† Graduates invariably return to jobs in their respective maritime administration or shipping company.

The course programme lays particular emphasis on the study of shipping law, especially the international regulatory law of maritime transport to ensure maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment.† It also covers commercial law aspects of shipping including the carriage of goods by sea and marine insurance.† Intensive drafting exercises are also conducted, and a study tour to legal and commercial maritime institutions in London is held at the end of each course programme usually in May.† Students are assessed on the basis of their work throughout the year and the results of two written examinations, an individual ten-thousand word supervised dissertation and a legislative drafting project.† Candidates who complete the course are awarded the degree of Master of Laws in International Maritime Law.†

The faculty consists of full time staff responsible for the general teaching and supervision of the course and is complemented by several eminent personalities including distinguished academics, international maritime lawyers, judges of international repute and experts from the maritime industry who regularly visit the Institute throughout the academic year to conduct lectures on the respective international maritime law topic/s on which they are leading experts.

From January 2000 onwards, a PhD. degree course has been initiated.† Studies for the PhD. degree course should not be less than three and not more than five years and students are required to register at the beginning of each academic year throughout the course.† Admission will be strictly for those holding a Masterís degree from a recognized University or academic institution or have qualifications comparable in standard including relevant professional legal experience which are recognized by the Institute.† The degree shall be conferred upon the submission of a thesis in English of not more than ten thousand words on a subject of their choice within the syllabus set by the Institute.† Those who are not IMLI graduates will have to undergo a one-year probationary period and, during this period, submit the thesis.† All theses will be assessed by a Board of Examiners comprising two examiners and an external examiner, after which students are required to defend their theses orally before the Board.

Besides the Master of Law Degree course, the Institute also organizes intensive short courses for those unable to attend a full academic year at IMLI but who are seeking to update their knowledge of current developments in specific areas.† The range of subjects covered by these intensive short courses range from International Marine Environmental Law, International Maritime Legislative Drafting, Law of Marine Insurance, Maritime Labour Law and EC Shipping Law and Policy.† All these courses are delivered by panels of internationally recognized lawyers and academics.

Further details on the Institute and its programme are available through its website or email: