“SurPRIZEing Events - Prize law as an American means of judicial independence from Britain? c.1780-1815”
This PhD-project will examine the British-American relationship after US independence through the lens of prize law. Privateering in the 18th century was an established method of maritime warfare, not only governed by national regulations, instructions and licensing, but also by a shared set of international practices generally referred to as the law of nations or international law. British vice-admiralty courts had been a major cause for the American Revolution, but now the US had to set up its own legal system to adjudicate prize.
Which path did the US choose, how did it divulge from the British system and what debates ensued during this process? Which role did international law or precedent play here? Back in London, joint commissions were set up to ensure that US rights were upheld according to the law of nations. The project will weave together these British interactions, US-development of prize adjudication and the realm of international law.