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Robert Force

The Niels F. Johnsen Chair of Maritime Law and Director Emeritus, Maritime Law Center
BS, 1955, LLB, 1958, Temple University; LLM, 1960, New York University

E-mail:  rforce@tulane.edu
Telephone:  504.865.5947
Office:  Weinmann Hall, Room 255-G


Robert Force is an internationally known authority on admiralty and criminal law who was a co-reporter for the Louisiana Code of Evidence and has written multiple articles and books on maritime law.

Force, now director emeritus of the Maritime Law Center at Tulane, was its founding director, and he holds the only endowed chair in maritime law in the United States. He taught at Temple and Indiana law schools before joining the Tulane Law faculty in 1969. He served as Tulane’s acting dean in 1977-78.

Earlier in his career, because of his criminal law expertise, he was named special master to the U.S. District Court for a major case involving Orleans Parish prison conditions. He has co-authored two landmark texts, The Law of Seamen and The Law of Maritime Personal Injuries, both now in their fifth edition. He also prepared a monograph on Admiralty and Maritime Law for federal judges at the invitation of the Federal Judicial Center. And his international work includes helping to write the maritime codes for Panama and China.

The Seamen’s Church Institute in 2001 named Force a maritime law legend. The President of Panama in 2002 designated him a member of the Order de Vasco Nunez de Balboa. And a book, Jurisdiction and Forum Selection Clauses in International Maritime Law, contains a series of essays honoring Force.

He received the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s 2014 Distinguished Professor Award. 

Professor Force's CV

Fall 2016 - Civil Procedure; Admiralty 
Spring 2017 - International Commercial Arbitration; Admiralty Law Seminar


View news comments

AP, "Oil findings boost chance of corp. criminal charge," Friday, January 7, 2011
Times-Picayune, "Feds establish downtown bunker to build criminal, civil cases against BP, others in Gulf oil spill," Monday, September 27, 2010
New York Times, "Calls to Update Maritime Laws," Monday, July 5, 2010
Times-Picayune, "Splitting the bill for spill is tricky," Monday, May 24, 2010
The Times-Picayune, "Determining who will pay the price for Gulf of Mexico oil spill is complicated process," Saturday, May 22, 2010
Law.com, "Carnival Settles Class Action Over Ill-Fated Millennium Cruise Billy Shields," Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The National Law Journal, "Exxon Valdez Case Brings $2.5B Damages Fight to Supreme Court," September 12, 2007
USA Today, Rework Cruise Lines' Rules for Smoother Sailing. Clilck here.
NPR, All Things Considered, Interview: Robert Force discusses the sinking of the Prestige, and the difficulties of worldwide efforts to convert all tankers to double-hulled vessels, November 19, 2002
Times Picayune, Tulane law professor honored by Panama, November 7, 2002
Associated Press, Port Problems Likely to go to Court, October 9, 2002
Los Angeles Times, Legal Action May Not Help Firms, October 9, 2002
Reuter's, Dole Suit May Spark Litigation Over Ports Closure, October 8, 2002

For media inquiries, email lawcommunications@tulane.edu

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