The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (WCNYH) is a regulatory agency in Port of New York and New Jersey in the United States. The bi-state agency was founded in 1953 by a Congressional authorized compact between New York and New Jersey "for the purpose of eliminating various evils on the waterfront in the Port of New York Harbor." Under statutory mandate, the mission of the commission is to investigate, deter, combat and remedy criminal activity and influence in the port district and also ensures fair hiring and employment practices. 

If you or your loved ones are summoned to appear before the Waterfront Commission it is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney for representation at you hearing. Novel Law, LLC represents individuals who are being investigated by the commission and are at risk of losing their job or not being hired due to suspected ties to criminal activity.

The mission of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor is to root-out illegal activities and corruption on the Ports of New Jersey and New York.  There is no dispute that the ports of New Jersey and New York, like all industries have there share of illegal activities and corruption.


Accordingly, pursuant to the Waterfront Act every person working as a Longshoreman, Checker or Maintenance Person is required to possess a Waterfront Pass and these passes are issued by the Waterfront Commission.  Accordingly, every Longshoreman, Checker and Maintenance Man is subject to the jurisdiction of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.  The Waterfront Commission is a bi-state agency and covers every shipping port in New Jersey and New York.


It is important to understand that every Longshoreman, Checker or Maintenance Person is subject to revocation of his or her Waterfront Commission pass for engaging in behavior which the Waterfront Commission believes in its opinion shows lack of good character.


Unfortunately, the term lacking in “good character” is an amorphous word and is subject to numerous interpretations by the Commission.  What might be bad character in one case might not be bad character in another case.  Of course as with all governmental agencies, they have in essence the final say in the matter, subject only to appeal to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, for all Longshoreman living or working in New Jersey.


The Commission considers Longshoreman convicted of a crime or disorderly person’s offenses are person’s lacking “good character”, and are subject to a revocation hearings, and permanent loss of his or her waterfront pass.  In these cases the commission will move for an immediate suspension of the Longshoreman’s pass.  In those cases the Waterfront Commission will file a formal complaint and Administrative Law Hearing to revoke the waterfront pass.


Well less known, however, is the fact that the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor will often seek termination or suspension of a waterfront pass for Longshoreman not convicted of a crime or disorderly person’s offense.  Such as Longshoreman entering a conditional discharge program, or Pretrial Intervention.  Amazingly, even if the charges are dismissed by the prosecutor, or a court or jury finds the Longshoreman not guilty the Waterfront Commission in some cases continue to seek revocation of the waterfront pass, if the Waterfront Commission finds evidence that the Longshoreman lacks good character, through the testimony of the Longshoreman himself, or from the testimony of others. 


Traditional constitutional protections of the accused and other criminal procedural right protections do not apply to the Waterfront Commission because the proceedings are civil in nature and not criminal.  Of course the Longshoreman can always assert his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent; however, asserting the Fifth Amendment before the Waterfront Commission is unlikely to inure to the benefit of the Longshoreman. 


However, because all Waterfront Commission depositions and sworn, there have been numerous occasion in which the Waterfront Commission has sought criminal prosecution for false swearing under oath before the Commission.  Therefore, under the Waterfront rules the Longshoreman is forced to admit to wrongdoing which will ultimately be used against him or her.


A hearing or deposition under oath before the Waterfront Commission is a proceeding filed with mine-fields and trap-doors for the unprepared and un-counseled.  If you are called in to give a deposition under oath or hearing it is essential that you seek the legal advice from a Waterfront Lawyer who is experienced in this field of practice.  Your job and lively-hood might hinge on picking the right Waterfront Lawyer for your situation.  If you are in need of a New Jersey Waterfront Attorney, before the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor you are urged to call Maximillian A. Novel, Esq.