The Litigation of Exploration

29 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2019

See all articles by Annie Brett

Annie Brett

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Kenneth F. Broad

University of Miami - Department of Marine Affairs & Policy

Date Written: September 14, 2019


Changes in societal governance of risk coupled with changes to exploration have created an environment today where litigation is an integral, but generally overlooked, aspect of exploration. This Article addresses the current relationship between law and exploration, asking how the litigation of exploration has evolved over time and what characterizes this relationship today. We also pose several normative questions about what the relationship between law and exploration should be. Part I defines the field of exploration that this Article will consider and looks at the important social role and historical evolution of exploration. Part II considers how liability for exploration accidents is apportioned by the law, ultimately arguing that explorers are subject to potentially disproportionate liability. Part III addresses what benefits explorers get from subjecting themselves to extreme amounts of legal and physical risk, namely through rights in the outcomes of their expeditions. Taken together, liability for systemic accidents combined with generally meager rights to expedition media assets create a situation, we argue, where explorers are subject to a great deal of risk and responsibility with little legally protected rights. We conclude by questioning this trend in light of exploration’s social contributions.

Suggested Citation

Brett, Annie and Broad, Kenneth F., The Litigation of Exploration (September 14, 2019). 63 Villanova Law Review 241 (2018)., Available at SSRN:

Annie Brett (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

Kenneth F. Broad

University of Miami - Department of Marine Affairs & Policy ( email )

United States

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