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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Prize Law

James Kraska

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 25 February 2021

Armed conflict, international — Armed forces — Ships / vessels — Warfare, sea — Ancient Times to 1648

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

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...
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