What is Prize? 

         Property of Enemy captured on the high seas is termed prize. It differs from booty which is applied to property of the enemy taken on land.

Prize Court : 

     Prize Court is a court that, in accordance with International Law, deals with questions relating to Prize, for example, aircraft,  ships, or goods captured during wartime at sea or port by naval or air forces of a belligerent power.

     According to Lawrence if enemy property liable to hostile seizure is captured at sea, the rights of the original owner are destroyed.

Definition of Prize Court -


    According to Obsorn Prize Courts specially constituted for the purpose of deciding questions of maritime capture in time of war according to International Law.
Lawrence : 

      Lawrence defines prize courts as municipal tribunals set up by belligerent States in their own territory, in territory under their military occupation, or in territory belonging to an ally in the war for the purpose of deciding upon the validity of the captures made by their cruisers. In the last case, the permission of the ally must be obtained beforehand.

Jurisdiction of Prize Court 

          Jurisdiction of a Prize court extends to all captures made on the high seas by its Country's cruisers during a war, to captures made on land by its naval force and to ransoms and connected questions of damages. It also includes Recaptures.  The prize Court derives their jurisdiction from the Belligerent State establishing them, which is conferred by its Municipal Law.

Functions of Prize Court 

According to Pitt Cobbett, the functions of Prize Courts in short are -

1) To enquire into case of Maritime Capture

2) To decree condemnation where the property captured proves to be lawful prize;

3) To award restitution where it is not, with such compensation as may appear just; and 

4) Incidentally to protect the interest of all against rapine and disorder. 

Effects of Decision 

       The decision of the Price Court is regarded as conclusive and settles all proprietary rights in the prize. A court of another country has no right to review its decision.


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