prize court

a court whose function it is to adjudicate on prizes taken in war.
[1785-95, Amer.]

* * *

      a municipal (national) court in which the legality of captures of goods and vessels at sea and related questions are determined.

      During time of war private enemy ships and neutral merchantmen carrying contraband are subject to seizure. Title to such vessels and their cargoes does not immediately pass to the captor state but, under international law, must be adjudicated by the captor state's prize court, which may condemn them as lawful prizes. Enemy warships, enemy public ships (such as prison ships), and neutral ships participating in hostilities, on the other hand, are subject to capture. Title in them passes immediately to the captor state and is not subject to condemnation by a prize court.

      Although prize courts are municipal courts, and their character and organization are thus determined by national tradition and law, they apply customary and conventional international law. There is a practice of long standing for belligerents, at the outbreak of war, to enact prize law through statutory legislation; such enactments are presumed to be declaratory of international law but are, in any event, binding on the courts.

      In the 20th century, unrestricted sea warfare involving the destruction of merchant shipping has reduced the role of prize courts. The United States has held no prize courts since 1899 for the additional reason of its more liberal policy of requisitioning foreign vessels with compensation rather than appropriating them as prizes. See also angary; contraband.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prize court — Prize Prize (pr[imac]z), n. [F. prise a seizing, hold, grasp, fr. pris, p. p. of prendre to take, L. prendere, prehendere; in some senses, as 2 (b), either from, or influenced by, F. prix price. See {Prison}, {Prehensile}, and cf. {Pry}, and also …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prize court — n. a court that decides how captured property, esp. that taken at sea in wartime, is to be distributed …   English World dictionary

  • Prize court — A prize court is a court (or even a single individual, such as an ambassador or consul) authorized to consider whether or not a ship has been lawfully captured or seized in time of war or under the terms of the seizing ship s letters of marque… …   Wikipedia

  • prize court — noun 1. : a court having jurisdiction to adjudge upon captures at sea in time of war 2. : a court having jurisdiction over seizures by revenue officers and other officials with similar authority * * * a court whose function it is to adjudicate on …   Useful english dictionary

  • prize court — A court which administers prize law, adjudicating the right to property as prize of war. An anomaly in jurisprudence as a domestic court administering law of the nations. 56 Am J1st War § 182. Having taken goods of the enemy, the captors have a… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • prize court — noun a court adjudicating on the distribution of ships and property captured in naval warfare …   English new terms dictionary

  • International Prize Court — The capturing of prizes (enemy equipment, vehicles, and especially ships) during wartime is a tradition that goes back as far as organized warfare itself.The International Prize Court was an international court proposed at the beginning of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Prize crew — is a term used to indicate a number of crew members of a ship chosen to take over the operations of a captured ship. Early emphasis on prize crews In the early days of sailing and up into the American Civil War, capturing enemy ships was quite… …   Wikipedia

  • Prize (law) — Prize is a term used in admiralty law to refer to equipment, vehicles, and vessels captured during armed conflict. The most common use of prize in this sense is the capture of an enemy ship and its cargo. In the past, it was common that the… …   Wikipedia

  • Prize — (pr[imac]z), n. [F. prise a seizing, hold, grasp, fr. pris, p. p. of prendre to take, L. prendere, prehendere; in some senses, as 2 (b), either from, or influenced by, F. prix price. See {Prison}, {Prehensile}, and cf. {Pry}, and also {Price}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.