The rules concerning general average are amongst the oldest in the maritime field. They have their basis in the fact that, during a voyage, the ship, cargo and freight form part of a common venture. The principle underlying the rules is simple. If the common venture comes under threat during a voyage - for instance, because the ship springs a leak and is in danger of sinking - then extraordinary sacrifices and expenditure necessary to prevent the loss of the venture must be apportioned according to the value of each respective interest.

The rules on general average have developed over time and the main legal source of the rules today is the so called York- Antwerp Rules. Emirate has adopted the York-Antwerp Rules into its Maritime Code.

It is proposed to discuss in this article the principle of general average; and to show how far it has been established, and what rules based on it have been laid down by judicial authority.