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Admiralty courts

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Admiralty courts

Under British law, the High Court of Admiralty had jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases concerning foreign trade and the merchant marine. Beyond London, Vice-admiralty courts heard maritime cases. All verdicts were given by a judge sitting without a jury. Vice-admiralty courts were established in the thirteen colonies after 1696; although they had jurisdiction over the Navigation acts, they did not try smuggling cases—which were heard in common law courts with juries—until the Sugar Act.