Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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The Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, finding many inconveniences daily to arise, in relation both to the Trade of this Kingdome, and to the commerce with Foreign parts, through the uncertainty of jurisdiction in the Trial of Maritime Causes, do Ordain, and be it Ordained by authority of Parliament, That the Court of Admiralty shall have cognizance and jurisdiction against the Ship or Vessel with the Tackle, Apparel, and Furniture thereof, in all causes which concern the repairing, victualling, and furnishing provisions for the setting of such Ships or Vessels to Sea, and in all cases of Bottomry, and likewise in all cases of Contracts made beyond the Seas concerning Shipping or Navigation, or damages happening thereon, or arising at Sea in any Voyage; And likewise in all cases of Charter, Parties, or Contracts for Fraight, Bills of lading, Mariners wages, or damages in Goods laden on board Ships, or other damages done by one Ship or Vessel to another, or by Anchors, or want of laying of Buois, except alwaies that the said Court of Admiralty shall not hold pleas, or admit Actions upon any Bills of Exchange, or accompts betwixt Merchant and Merchant, or their Factors.
And be it Ordained, That in all and every the matters aforesaid, the said Admiralty Court shall and may proceed, and take Recognizances in due form, and hear, examine, and finally end. decree, sentence, and determine the same according to the Lawes and Customes of the Sea, and put the same decrees and sentences in execution without any let, trouble, or impeachment whatsoever, any Law, Statute or usage to the contrary heretofore made in any wise notwithstanding; saving alwaies and reserving to all and every person and persons, that shall finde and think themselves aggrieved by any sentence definitive, or decree having the force of a definitive sentence, or importing a damage not to be repaired in the definitive sentence given or interposed in the Court of Admiralty, in all or any of the cases aforesaid, their right of appeal in such form as hath heretofore been used from such decrees, or sentences in the said Court of Admiralty.
Provided alwaies, and be it further Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That from henceforth there shall be three Judges alwaies appointed of the said Court, to be nominated from time to time by both Houses of Parliament, or such as they shall appoint; And that every of the Judges of the said Court for the time being, that shall be present at the giving any definitive sentence in the said Court, shall at the same time, or before such sentence given openly in Court, deliver his Reasons in Law of such his sentence, or of his opinion concerning the same; and shall also openly in Court give Answers and solutions (as far as he may) to such Lawes, Customes, or other matter as shall have been brought or alleadged in Court, on that part against whom such sentence or opinion shall be given or declared respectively.