Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Recent Developments

First Page



The frequent criticism of the strict locality test as the sole determinant of admiralty jurisdiction resulted in the Supreme Court's requirement of a significant relationship with traditional maritime activity in Executive Jet. The Court's failure to give lucid guidance to later courts in applying the new requirement in non-aviation cases was partially remedied by the Fifth Circuit's implementation of the maritime-nexus test utilizing a factor analysis in Kelly. For those courts that follow Kelly, this new interpretation of the test will provide needed guidelines for determining when admiralty should properly exercise jurisdiction. The courts should not limit themselves, however, to a consideration of the four factors as interpreted in Kelly, but should also balance the state interest in having its local law apply against the federal interest in uniformity. Although locality should be a factor to be considered, it should not be unduly emphasized. The paramount consideration should be that admiralty law is designed primarily to deal with the problems of maritime commerce.