Imperial Admiralty Courts
The Imperial Admiralty Courts are the province of the Imperial Navy, but operates according to a set of rules distinct from the Imperial Code of Military Justice (ICMJ). Imperial Judges of the Imperial Admiralty Courts are appointed by the Sector Admiral of each [Sector], and are normally both naval officers and qualified lawyers. They normally come from the Judge Advocate General’s Office of the Imperial Navy, but are sometimes seconded from the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service or from the Ministry of Justice. Justices and other officers of the Imperial Admiralty Courts system are not normally members of the Ministry of Justice, unless seconded from the Ministry for some special purpose.
Imperial Admiralty Courts adjudicate cases involving interstellar trade and shipping – including piracy, Barratry (wrongful conduct of crew that results in monetary losses), and hijacking – using an inquisitorial process similar to that used by the criminal courts. The procedures are also similar: court-appointed investigators and the advocates of the accused present the facts of the case to a panel of one or more judges, who render a verdict after considering the evidence. Like the Imperial Criminal Courts, Imperial Admiralty Courts can impose fines, imprisonment, or capital punishment. The Ministry of Justice, not the Imperial Navy, carries out capital punishments.
Imperial Admiralty Courts can also be asked to rule on the legitimacy of a prize taken by a vessel operating under a Letter of Marque. Once a vessel is condemned by the court as a prize, there is no legal recourse for the owner to recover the vessel. If there is found to be some flaw in the Letter of Marque or the process of taking the vessel, the ship taken must be restored to the owners. Failure to do so may result in the owners taking the capturing vessel's crew to court as Pirates.
n.b. Not all Imperial Admiralty Courts sit permanently. They may be considerable delay until the start of the next session.