- The Comité Maritime International (“CMI”) is the oldest organization in the world that is exclusively concerned with the unification of maritime law and related commercial practices.
- It is a not-for-profit international organization established in Antwerp in 1897, the object of which is to contribute by all appropriate means and activities to the unification of maritime law in all its aspects.
- To this end, it shall promote the establishment of national associations of maritime law and shall cooperate with other international organizations.”
- The CMI has an Executive Council comprising officers and councilors from around the world. Its members are 56 National Maritime Law Associations, with memberships ranging from 10 to 3,600.
- They include lawyers, commercial men, and women in the shipping and cargo industries, insurers and brokers, and bankers, amongst others.
The International Maritime Committee, or the Comite Maritime International as it is now known, was inaugurated in 1897 with Charles Le Jeune as its first President. The basic concept of the founders of the C.M.I. cannot be better expressed than in Louis Franck’s own words-
“Our object was to give to the sea, which is the natural tie between the nations, the benefit of a uniform law, which will be rational, deliberated, equitable in its inception and practical in its text. We have considered that in our work, the shipowner, the merchant, the underwriter, the average adjuster, the banker, the parties directly
interested should have the leading part: that the task of the lawyer was to discern what in this maritime community was a general feeling, which, among these divergent interests, is common to all; to discern also which of the various solutions ” is the best; to contribute to the common work his science and his experience, but that ultimately the a lawyer should hold the pen and that the man of practice should dictate