The Admiralty Sessions, 1536-1834: Maritime Crime and the Silver Oar now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of The Admiralty Sessions, 1536-1834: Maritime Crime and the Silver Oar by Gregory Durston.
The growth in England and Britain’s merchant marine from the medieval period onwards meant that an increasing number of criminal offences were committed on or against the country’s vessels while they were at sea. Between 1536 and 1834, such crimes were determined at the Admiralty Sessions if brought to trial. This was a special part of the wider Admiralty Court, which, unlike the other forums in that tribunal, used English common law procedure rather than Roman civil law to try its cases. To a modest extent, this produced a ‘hybrid’ court, dominated by the common law but influenced by aspects of Europe’s other major legal tradition. The Admiralty Sessions also had their own (highly singular) regime for executing convicts, used the Marshalsea prison to hold their suspects and displayed the Admiralty Court’s ceremonial silver oar at their hearings and hangings.
This book documents the origins, development and abolition of the Admiralty Sessions. It discusses all of the major crimes that were determined by the forum, and examines some of the more arcane and unusual offences that ended up there. Some of the unusual challenges presented by the maritime environment, whether the impossibility of preserving dead bodies at sea, the extensive power given to captains to physically punish sailors, the difficulty of securing suspects in small vessels, or the often gruesome problems occasioned by the marginal legal status of slaves, are also considered in detail.
To read a full summary of the book and to read a 30-page sample extract, which includes the table of contents, please visit the following link:
The Admiralty Sessions, 1536-1834: Maritime Crime and the Silver Oar can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars, through Amazon and other online retailers, or through our global network of distributors. Our partners include Bertram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, YBP, Inspirees and MHM Limited. An e-book version will be available for purchase through the Google Play store in due course.
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About the Author
Gregory Durston read History for his first degree before training for the bar. For many years, he was Reader in Law at Kingston University, UK, where he is still an Honorary Fellow.