- Armed conflict, international — Armed forces — Ships / vessels — Warfare, sea — Ancient Times to 1648
Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.
A. Concept and Definition
1 The English word ‘prize’ or French ‘prise’ is derived from the Latin verb ‘prehendere’, which means ‘to seize’. In modern usage the term ‘prize’ means a ship or property captured at sea under the laws of war. A prize is a legal capture at sea during wartime. The concept of prize law arose in customary international law in connection with the seizure at sea of enemy property in naval warfare, which may include ships and cargo at sea during times of international armed conflict.
2 Prize law is asserted in connection with belligerent rights during times of war. The doctrine of prize law focuses on balancing the right of neutral nations and neutral nationals to conduct international trade with the right of belligerent warships to interdict and capture shipping, including both vessels and cargo, in the service of the enemy or aiding the enemy (Enemies and Enemy Subjects). Since prize law is a function of the law of war, it does not justify impeding shipping or impairing the rights and freedoms of navigation enjoyed by all nations during times of peace (Navigation, Freedom of).
1. The Prize
3 The term ‘prize’ relates to those vessels or cargoes which may be seized, with or without the consent of the captain or master of the vessel captured and detained, and then brought before a national prize court to be condemned for the use of the captor. The Oxford Manual on the Law of Naval Warfare (1913) suggests the term ‘prize’ is a general expression applying to a captured ship or to goods that are seized. Generally ships are the objects of prize, but aircraft and cargo also may be seized as prize so long as the capture is done in a port or at sea.
4 Although vessels are the usual objects of prize, other objects may include aircraft and cargo. The capture, however, normally must be made at sea or associated with the sea. Occasionally, property located on the beach, a river, or a lake may be held as prize, so long as a connection to the sea is maintained. For example, oil pumped from a ship to shore and held in tanks may be regarded as a prize and even captures made on land by naval forces may be considered as lawful prize (Notes on the Principles and Practice of Prize Courts by the Late Judge Story 28–29, 107, and 115).
2. The Chase
5 Historically, predator warships or privateers initiated prize taking by encountering a potential target and pursuing the vessel. The belligerent vessel sought to make positive identification in order to determine the potential value or danger posed by the targeted vessel, which was called the ‘chase’—or ‘chace’ in eighteenth century. During the chase, vessels were permitted to operate on the basis of deception or concealment, and were permitted to fly the flag of any nation or no flag at all. Predators were not permitted to chase within three nautical miles of a neutral short, and there was no exception to accommodate a predator in hot pursuit. Predators were, however, permitted to operate in the territorial waters of enemy nations. As the two vessels began to close, the predator typically would begin a process known as ‘bringing the chase to’, in which the chase was directed to point her bow into the wind and stop in the water to await inspection. Prize law did not permit the predator to fire her gun while flying a false flag during the sequence of bringing the chase to. If the chase came to without compulsion of force, the predator was obliged to remain beyond cannon range during the subsequent inspection process.
3. Belligerent Right of Visit and Search
6 All ships enjoy a right of approach in peace and war in order to conduct queries to verify a ship’s registry, and may visit a vessel as an aid to suppression of piracy or slave-trading. During wartime, belligerents enjoy a different right—the right of visit and search (Ships, Visit and Search). Belligerent vessels have a recognized right to exercise visit and search (boarding) against neutral merchant ships in order to verify the non-enemy character of the vessel or cargo. International law prescribes that the predator vessel conducting the inspection may conduct the boarding by small boat, manned by one crew and an officer and no more than one other person. The inspecting officer has a right to examine the ship’s flag registry, documents of origin, sea-pass, bills of landing and other journals and logs, conduct interviews of the captain, crew, and passengers to validate the written records, account for all persons on board through a muster, and physically inspect any area of the ship that was not battened or locked.
7 Historically, the master of the chase was required to accompany the boarding officer back to the belligerent vessel, with the ship’s logs and other papers, to enable the captain to personally review the ship’s documents and question the master of the chase. Based upon the boarding of the chase, the captain of the captor vessel had to determine whether the chase was an allied or neutral flagged vessel engaged in commerce, fishing, or scientific discovery, a neutral vessel engaged in culpable activity, or an enemy vessel. If the vessel were allied or neutral, the law of nations required that it be released to continue its voyage. If the vessel was a neutral flagged vessel engaged in carrying contraband, blockade running, or ferrying enemy troops, or if the papers appeared fraudulent, the vessel might be seized as a prize. In such case, the captain of the captor vessel was permitted to transfer the crew of the chase off the ship and replace it with a prize crew comprised of his own men in order to sail the vessel to a friendly port for adjudication in a prize court. If the chase were an enemy vessel, the captor could remove the entire crew of the chase and their personal effects and burden or sink the chase, which was sometimes effected by using it as target practice. The captain of the captor vessel could siphon supplies from the chase, such as water, ammunition, and weapons, and he could use the chase as a convenient drop-off for prisoners captured during previous engagements, relieving the chase of the burden of guarding and feeding them. The capturing vessel, or captor, also could negotiate a ransom with the chase, with the chase serving as the lawful agent of the owner of the vessel. It is unclear whether the right of visit and search may be exercised against neutral vessels under convoy escort by neutral warships.
4. Seizure or Capture
8 The Oxford Manual of Naval War defines the act of ‘capture’ as that by which the commander of a warship (the captor) substitutes his authority for that of the captain of the enemy ship, subject to the subsequent judgment of the prize court as to the ultimate fate of the ship and its cargo. Capture of a vessel is complete when the vessel is under the positive control of the captor (Oppenheim 474). Some make a distinction between ‘captures’ of certain vessels or property, such as enemy warships and fleet auxiliaries and other State vessels, in which title to the property passes immediately to the capturing nation and ‘seizure’ in which title does not pass until condemnation by a prize court. Ships liable to seizure include hospital ships, fishing boats used exclusively for fishing along the coast, and vessels engaged in local trade.
5. National Prize Courts
9 National prize courts applied the international law of prize as reflected through authority and jurisdiction derived from national legislation. Some States have independent prize courts whereas others are included within the regular judicial system or are established as administrative tribunals. Prize courts vary among nations and have authority to condemn ships or goods to the use of the captor if they support an adversary’s war effort. For example, in the United States, Art. 45 Lieber Code (1863) required all prize captures to be determined in accordance with local law. A prize court of a belligerent State could make a determination on condemnation of conditional contraband, which includes goods such as food that is useful for both civil and military purposes. Confiscation is the act by which the prize court rendered valid the seizure of the goods or vessel. The master of the captor had fairly wide discretion in selecting the prize court based upon any criteria, including factors such as time, distance, weather, and the security and safety of transit to port by the captor and the chase. Captors did, however, risk fines or forfeiture of the prize if they intentionally selected a prize court that demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the ability or convenience of the captured vessel’s owners and cargo shippers to appear in defence of their property.
6. Doctrine of Continuous Voyage and Ultimate Destination
10 Vessels from neutral States generally were exempt from prize seizure, except for goods classified as contraband such as military material. Prize courts applied the doctrine of continuous voyage and ultimate destination to look beyond the stated destination of the vessel or goods to ascertain whether the final destination was an enemy State. The United States Supreme Court upheld an 1863 condemnation of non-contraband goods seized from a British ship bound for the British colony in the Bahamas under the theory of ‘continuous voyage’ that asserted the ultimate destination was the United Kingdom (Springbok v United States United States Supreme Court  72 US 1). In 1909 the London Declaration concerning the Laws of Naval War (‘London Declaration’) adopted the doctrine of ‘ultimate destination’ which permitted capture of absolute contraband whether it made a direct or indirect and circuitous route through neutral State waters or ports before arriving at its ultimate destination in enemy territory. British prize courts applied these principles in World Wars I and II. During World War I, a British court condemned as contraband cargo consigned to Copenhagen, a neutral port at the time. The court determined that Denmark’s imports were bound for Germany as the ultimate destination (The Kim and other Vessels  3 LPC 167).
B. Historical Evolution of Prize Law
11 Henry Wheaton regarded the law of prize as the most important practical branch of the law of nations (at para. iii). Prize arose under the concept of neutrality and neutral goods that are exempt from capture by a belligerent anywhere on the high seas. The rule was recognized as early as 1164 and subsequently included in the Consolato de Mare, a survey of maritime custom and law first published in Barcelona in 1494 and widely adopted by Mediterranean City States in the High Middle Ages. Early prize law evolved continuously throughout the early modern era, with its greatest prominence stretching from the mid-15th to mid-19th century. By 1758 Emmerich de Vattel expounded two fundamental principles of the law of neutrality that had gained widespread acceptance: belligerents were obligated to respect the neutrality of States remaining neutral and a neutral State had a duty to remain impartial.
12 Prior to World War I, vessels carrying ‘contraband’—a term specifying goods that could be useful to the enemy’s war effort—could be seized and condemned as prize. The Declaration Respecting Maritime Law of 1856 (‘Declaration of Paris’) set forth the principle that, with some limitations, neutral nations should be permitted to conduct commerce in time of war. Belligerent nations are entitled to take contraband as prize, although there is potential disagreement over precisely what is included as ‘contraband’. Goods are considered contraband if they have an enemy destination and are susceptible to belligerent use by the enemy. Belligerent states may issue lists to neutral States identifying those goods considered absolute or conditional contraband, but by the end of World War I, this distinction disappeared.
13 In the contemporary era, some goods, such as medical supplies, are always regarded as non-contraband, even if they do support the war effort. During the Iraq-Kuwait War (1990–91), for example, the UN Security Council permitted the supply of humanitarian supplies including food, to Iraq.
14 Private vessels were accorded written licence from their sovereign to authorize the attack and capture of enemy vessels on behalf of the nation. If the vessel was privately owned, the authorization was in the form of a ‘letter of marque and reprisal’ and constituted the vessel a privateer. Such letters were issued in time of war to augment naval forces. Privateers were motivated by the hope of financial gain and were permitted to retain the sovereign’s share of the prize in order to induce them into service against maritime opponents.
15 The Declaration Respecting Maritime Law of 1856, which was signed in conjunction with the General Treaty for the Re-establishment of Peace ([signed 30 March 1856, entered into force 27 April 1856] [1855–56] 114 CTS 409; ‘Paris Peace Treaty’) that concluded the Crimean War (1853–56), abolished privateering. But the declaration of 1856 confirmed that a neutral flag covers enemy goods except for contraband, and neutral goods—except contraband—are not subject to capture under an enemy flag. Generally, the proceeds obtained from prizes captured by warships were distributed among the squadron commander, the captain of the vessel, and his officers and crew, according to a precise schedule promulgated by the sovereign. In the absence of such a contract, distribution was conducted under a formula in which half went to the officers and crew and was divided according to the naval schedule, and the other half to the owner of the vessel. The Oxford Manual of Naval War proscribed privateering and hostile acts other than self-defence against enemy vessels (in Art. 12) and the practice is no longer accepted.
C. Contemporary Prize Law
16 Today prize law is recognized as the branch of international law that is associated with economic warfare at sea. Although it is derived from international law, prize law is administered by municipal courts or specially established prize courts.
1. Hague Convention XI (1907)
17 The Convention relative to Certain Restrictions on the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Maritime War of 1907 (‘Hague Convention XI’) is one of the primary instruments for prize law. Hague Convention XI is divided into four sections: inviolability of official and private postal correspondence, special exemptions from capture, crews of captured enemy merchant ships, and implementing rules. Vessels used exclusively for fishing along the coast are exempt from capture, for example, unless they are supporting enemy military forces. The application of the Hague Convention XI rules were upset by changes in industrial age warfare during the two World Wars in which State practice too often violated prize rules. Belligerents departed from prize rules by sinking merchant vessels before making adequate provision for the safety of crew and passengers, attacking coastal fishing vessels and commercial vessels engaged in local trade, laying of mines without providing notice to mariners, and the inhumane conduct of unrestricted submarine warfare and even deliberate attacks against lifeboats and lighthouses. The application of the rules is also handicapped by Art. 9, which states that the rules only apply to nations that have accepted them, and which are in a treaty relationship under the convention with the opposing belligerent State.
2. Hague Convention XII of an International Prize Court (1907)
18 Since the late 1800s there have been proposals to create an international prize court, and occasionally bilateral arbitration panels have been established to consider prize cases. The Convention for the Establishment of the International Prize Court (‘Hague Convention XII’) never entered into force because it did not secure any State ratification. The court would have served as a court of appeals for decisions rendered by national courts. Neutral and enemy nationals and neutral powers would have been entitled to bring suit under the 1907 convention. In the absence of any other treaty provision, the court was to apply the ‘rules of international law’. During the debates on the convention there was disagreement over the rules to be applied by the court. The rules later were developed in 1908 and 1909 and set forth in the London Declaration 1909.
3. The London Declaration (1909)
19 Due to disagreement over the law applied and questions of fact in prize cases, States proposed the creation of an International Prize Court in 1907. There was uncertainty attaching to the law to be applied by a Hague Convention XII court and the London Naval Conference was convened in 1908 to formulate the Declaration of London as the definitive code of naval warfare. The rules set forth in the London Declaration were observed by several nations during World War I, although the declaration never entered into force. The failure of the London Declaration to secure ratifications was fatal to the concept of an international prize court and Hague Convention XII.
4. The Oxford Manual (1913)
20 In 1913 a restatement on the law of prize was promulgated in the Law of Naval Warfare governing the Relations between Belligerents, also known as the Oxford Manual on the Law of Naval War. The manual contains a comprehensive modern articulation of prize law, applying the rules of prize on the high seas and in the territorial waters of belligerents.
5. The San Remo Manual (1995)
21 The 1995 San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (‘San Remo Manual’) manifests modern prize rules. The manual was developed under the auspices of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy. The San Remo Manual provides that enemy warships and merchant vessels, and the goods on board, may be captured outside neutral waters. Prior exercise of visit and search is not required under the manual (in Art. 135). All enemy vessels, except those protected due to special status, are subject to capture. Even private enemy-flagged vessels, such as yachts, may be captured. Reasonable force may be used to stop a prize from fleeing or escaping.
22 After a vessel has been searched and considered subject to capture, the officer of the capturing vessel must inventory and seal the ship’s papers, inventory the vessel and the goods on board, account for all persons on board the ship, and either provide a crew for the vessel or leave on board sufficient crew to operate the ship (Art. 100 San Remo Manual). Except for prisoners of war, other persons may be detained on board a seized vessel for a reasonable time as witnesses (Art. 101 San Remo Manual).
23 The captured vessel must be taken to the nearest port belonging to the captor State or an allied power to facilitate correspondence with a prize court of jurisdiction. During the transit into port, the prize sails under the flag of the captor (Art. 102 San Remo Manual). The captor may, however, place the vessel in immediate service, but this action must be reported to the prize court (Art. 106 San Remo Manual). Once in port, the captured vessel and its goods must be turned over to the competent authority in order for the prize court to determine the legality and regularity of the capture (Arts 109 and 110 San Remo Manual).
24 To the extent possible, the seized vessel and cargo should be preserved (Art. 103 San Remo Manual). Belligerents are not permitted to destroy seized enemy ships or their cargo except in case of exceptional necessity due to the safety of the captor or the success of conducting military operations.
25 Merchant vessels must be prepared to readily submit to identification and inspection and must not hamper the transit of combatants. In this regard, however, belligerent orders to stop and move may not be issued arbitrarily, and the safety of the merchant vessels concerned must be given due consideration. Although exempt from attack and capture, these civil merchants may be visited and searched, and sometimes diverted. These merchant vessels lose their special status the moment they do not comply with the conditions for the exemption. Protection for two additional types of enemy vessels—ships in port at the outbreak of hostilities and mail ships—is still open to question. During World War II British prize courts asserted jurisdiction over Italian (the Remo) and possible Danish (the Gudrun Maersk) enemy vessels that were in port at the outbreak of hostilities. Other would suggest such vessels are protected under Hague Convention VI, but that law appears to have fallen into disuse.
26 Prior exercise of visit and search is not required so long as positive determination has been made by other means. The capture of an enemy vessel is completed once that vessel is seized as a prize and its status is adjudicated. A merchant ship may be diverted to a port or alternative destination, but the property on board the vessel does not pass to the captor until a prize court condemns the vessel and passes a valid and complete title. The lawfulness of the capture is distinct from prize court proceedings for the property. Unlike non-military commercial vessels, however, belligerent warships and their accompanying cargo material becomes the property of the capturing nation as soon as a captor warship brings the vessel into its possession. In such cases is not necessary to have that action validated by a prize court. The 1922–23 Hague Rules of Air Warfare also apply this rule to aircraft (in Arts VV and LVI).
27 A belligerent State does not obtain possession of the ship or goods seized during wartime until a prize court rules in its favour. Because title to a condemned vessel is adjudged by a prize court if the vessel later is recaptured, the original flag State must obtain judgment by a prize court in order to retain title (Art. 108 San Remo Manual). If seizure of either the ship or goods is not validated by the prize court the vessel owners and those with an interest in the cargo are entitled to compensation, unless the vessel was captured for a ‘good reason’. Those with interest in the vessel or goods also are entitled to compensation if the vessel is destroyed, unless it can be justified based upon ‘exceptional circumstances’. In such circumstance, those entitled to the goods may seek indemnification. If the vessel or goods are used after seizure and they are not subsequently condemned by a prize court, the captor is liable for equitable indemnity for the use of the ship or cargo.
D. Special Problems
1. Enemy Character of Merchant Vessels and Goods
28 Different formulas have been used to determine the enemy character of goods. The London Declaration sets forth the rule that flying an enemy flag in wartime is conclusive of the nationality of the vessel (in Art. 57). This has survived into the present as the general rule that the flag of the vessel or markings they are bearing are prima facie indication of the enemy character of the ship. The Anglo-American approach is that the enemy character of the goods is determined by the domicile of the owner, whereas the continental European rule looks to the nationality of the owner. The London Declaration incorporates the traditional rule that the enemy character of goods found on board merchant vessels is determined by whether the owner of the vessel has enemy character (in Art. 58).
2. Multiple Captors
29 When multiple captors were engaged in a single chase, and the chase eventually was captured, prize courts would determine which vessel was designated as the legal captor, and how to divide the proceeds of the prize among the various crews and squadron. Courts generally divided the proceeds among the captor vessels that were in sight of the chase when it surrendered, which was indicated by lowering her flag. The prize proceeds typically were divided proportionally, based on the number and weight of cannon on board each vessel and the size of their crews. Participating vessels which were further from the chase at the moment of surrender would position a member of the crew as high in the mast as possible and with a glass to be able to provide testimony in a prize court and claim a share of the prize. A large amount of prize court litigation focused on apportionment and who was entitled to the prize. Privateers, however, had more difficulty compelling a portion of the prize from a chase initially seized by a naval vessel than naval vessels had in sharing a prize captured primarily by a privateer.
3. Captured Warships
30 Captured warships or other captured military objectives are not prizes, per se, and the property immediately passes to the captor. All other property passes to the capturing State only after appropriate adjudication by a prize court, providing due process for the conversion of property owned by private persons and commercial enterprises. Moreover, if the prize court does not condemn the captured vessel, the prize should be released to its owner, who has a right of compensation if the vessel was captured without due cause.
4. Neutral Cargo
31 Whereas enemy cargo on board an enemy merchant ship is always subject to capture as prize, neutral cargo on board an enemy merchant ship may be captured only if it is contraband, if the vessel is attempting to penetrate a blockade, or if the vessel is traveling in an enemy convoy or resists visit and search.
32 The historic distinction between absolute and conditional contraband is recast in the contemporary era as the problem of so-called ‘dual use’ goods—goods that may be used for both innocent or even humanitarian purposes but that also might also aid in the supply of enemy military forces. Whether goods are considered contraband or exempt is case dependent.
5. Immunity from Prize
33 Hospital ships and medical transport vessels have special status and protection under customary international law. Art. 1. Convention relative to the Opening of Hostilities ([done 18 October 1907, entered into force 26 January 1910]  205 CTS 263; ‘Hague Convention III’) and more recently Art. 22 Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea ([adopted 12 August 1949, entered into force 21 October 1950] 75 UNTS 85) have codified the customary rules concerning the special status of hospital ships. Hague Convention XI and the Hague Convention on the Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines ([signed 18 October 1907, entered into force 26 January 1910]  205 CTS 331; ‘Hague Convention VIII’) have enduring significance regarding the right of capture at sea and the rights and duties of neutral vessels at sea. Vessels engaged in humanitarian missions or rescue operations, or those vessels transporting prisoners of war or material essential for the survival of the civilian population, are protected in accordance with customary international law and Art. 70 Geneva Conventions Additional Protocol I (1977) (1125 UNTS 3; ‘Protocol I’). Art. 4 Hague Convention XI protects vessels engaged in promoting or supporting non-military scientific missions, and philanthropy or religious missions also are exempt from capture.
34 Customary international law as well as Art. 3 Hague Convention XI protects small coastal fishing vessels and small boats engaged in local trade. During the Vietnam War, for example, the US Navy did not interdict small North Vietnamese coastal commerce and fishing vessels. Cultural Property is immune from capture as prize under the Hague Convention on Cultural Property 1954 (in Art. 14). Moreover, although the San Remo Manual recognizes protection for vessels adapted specifically for pollution response or maintenance of the marine environment, neither category has been protected historically as part of customary or treaty law (see Art. 136). Even the San Remo Manual does not afford absolute protection to such vessels. They are exempt from capture only if they are innocently employed in their normal role and do not commit acts harmful to the enemy (in Art. 137).
35 While some aspects of the provisions of the law of prize law are anachronistic, States still adhere to the rules in prize law with respect to asserting a right to interdict contraband bound for an enemy port. Since World War II, prize law has had limited application in international armed conflict. Belligerents have applied the rules, with a more or less respectful level of observance, in several conflicts. Prize law featured most prominently in the Arab–Israeli wars, the India–Pakistan conflict of 1965, and the Persian Gulf war of 1990–91. During the Gulf conflict, the Coalition Maritime Interception Force (‘CMIF’) operated to prevent all goods—except certain exempt goods such as medical supplies—on board shipping bound for or departing from Iraq in enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 661 ( [6 August 1990] SCOR 45th Year 19), 665 ( [25 August 1990] SCOR 45th Year 21) and 668 ( [20 September 1990] SCOR 45th Year 28). Coalition forces took a broad interpretation of what constituted contraband.
36 The technology at sea for conducting maritime security operations will likely shape how belligerents enforce, and how neutral shipping complies with, restrictions on trade. The changes brought about in securing the global supply chain since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 have greatly enhanced the ability of flag, port, and coastal States to effectively communicate electronically, especially in the area of information sharing on ship goods manifests, declared ports, and vessel transit.
37 The prohibition of the use of force ensconced in Art. 51 UN Charter has not displaced the law of war and neutrality from which prize law springs. Belligerents still may stop, search, and, if appropriate, divert, shipping—except for warships and other sovereign immune vessels—encountered outside of neutral territorial waters that is bound for an enemy port. Enemy vessels may be seized and enemy property at sea may be captured unless the property constitutes exempt goods.
- H Wheaton A Digest of the Laws of Maritime Captures and Prizes (McDermott & DD Arden New York 1815).
- FT Pratt (ed) Notes on the Principles and Practice of Prize Courts, by the Late Judge Story (William Benning & Co London 1854).
- TE Holland A Manual of Naval Prize Law: Founded upon the Manual Prepared in 1866 by Godfrey Lushington (Darling & Son London 1888).
- —— ‘Judicial Decisions Involving Questions of International Law: Prize Court Decisions: The Kim, the Alfred Nobel, the Bjornsterjne Bjornson, and the Fridland’ (1915) 9 AJIL 979–1005.
- E de Vattel The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law (Carnegie Institute Washington 1916).
- LN Oppenheim International Law vol 2 War and Neutrality (3rd ed Longmans London 1921).
- JW Garner Prize Law during the World War: A Study of the Jurisprudence of the Prize Courts, 1914–1918 (Macmillan New York 1927).
- AM McDiarmid ‘American Civil War Precedents: Their Nature, Application and Extention’ (1940) 34 AJIL 220–48.
- JL Kunz ‘British Prize Cases, 1939–1941’ (1942) 36 AJIL 204–28.
- AW Knauth ‘Prize Law Reconsidered’ (1946) 46 ColumLRev 69–93.
- SWD Rowson ‘Prize Law during the Second World War’ (1947) XXIV BYIL 160–215.
- CJ Colombos A Treatise on the Law of Prize (3rd ed Grotius Society London 1949).
- H Grotius De iure praedare comentarius (1604) GL Williams (tr) (OUP Oxford 1950).
- W Heintschell von Heinegg ‘Visit, Search, Diversion and Capture in Naval Warfare: Part I, the Traditional Law’ (1991) 29 ACDI 283–329.
- W Heintschell von Heinegg ‘Visit, Search, Diversion and Capture in Naval Warfare: Part II, Developments Since 1945’ (1992) 30 ACDI 89–136.
- JA Roach ‘The Law of Naval Warfare at the Turn of Two Centuries’ (2000) 94 AJIL 64–77.
- Additional Protocol to the Convention of October 18 1907 relative to the Establishment of an International Prize Court (signed 19 September 1910, not yet entered into force) (1910) 212 CTS 173.
- Commission of Jurists ‘Rules of Aerial Warfare’ (December 1922–February 1923)  Cmd 2201, 15.
- Convention for the Establishment of the International Prize Court (signed 18 October 1907, not yet entered into force) 205 CTS 381.
- Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (signed 14 May 1954, entered into force 7 August 1956) 249 UNTS 240.
- Convention concerning the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War (done 18 October 1907, entered into force 26 January 1910) (1908) 2 AJIL Supp 202.
- Convention relative to Certain Restrictions on the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Maritime War (signed 18 October 1907, entered into force 26 January 1910) (1908) 2 AJIL Supp 167.
- Convention relative to the Status of Enemy Merchant Ships at the Outbreak of Hostilities (signed 18 October 1907, entered into force 26 January 1910) (1908) 2 AJIL Supp 127.
- Declaration concerning the Laws of Naval War (done 26 February 1909) (1909) 208 CTS 341 (London Declaration).
- Declaration respecting Maritime Law (signed 16 April 1856) (1856) 115 CTS 1.
- General Orders No 100: Instructions of the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field (23 April 1863) (Government Printing Office Washington 1898) (The Lieber Code).
- Institut de Droit International ‘Oxford Manual of Naval War’ (9 April 1913) in N Ronzitti (ed) The Law of Naval Warfare: A Collection of Agreements and Documents with Commentaries (Nijhoff Dordrecht 1988) 277.
- Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law (signed 16 April 1856) in F Piggott The Declaration of Paris 1856 (University of London Press London 1919) 120–21.
- San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (adopted 12 June 1994) reproduced in L Doswald-Beck (ed) San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (CUP Cambridge 1995) 1.