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Admiralty law

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I fought the law
and the law won

Icon pseudolaw.svg
us crazy
I do not recognize the authority of a court that hangs the gold-fringed flag. A flag with gilded edges is the flag of an admirality court. An admirality court signifies a naval court-martial. I cannot be court-martialled twice. That is all.
—Dale Gribble

Admiralty law or maritime law is a body of common law and statutory law primarily concerned with private commercial maritime activities. Maritime law covers controversies arising on the sea as well as controversies arising on land that are directly related to maritime activities, such as torts, contracts, passenger travel, and shipping. Admiralty law may apply to such controversies arising between domestic as well as international parties.

Under Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, as implemented by 28 USC § 1333, federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over cases and controversies arising under admiralty law. That is, no state court may exercise subject matter jurisdiction over any admiralty case. It is, however, very common that parties will submit maritime controversies to private arbitration, usually in England. England is also the forum for the greatest majority of international maritime litigation in court.

Sovereign ship-izen[edit]

For more information, see: Strawman theory

Some sovereign citizens claim that, originally, the United States government used "common law". However, during the shift away from the gold standard, the government was secretly changed over to admiralty law by sinister forces.[1]

Because the United States now bases the value of its currency in the "full faith and credit" of the United States, these sovereign citizens further believe that, effectively, the government has pledged its citizens as collateral. At birth, the government creates an ALL-CAPS version of you ("JOHN DOE" versus "John Doe") and places tons of money in a fund under the CAPS-YOU's name. By doing so, it has divided your rights between you and CAPS-YOU. Because legal documents commonly use ALL CAPS for names, these sovereign citizens believe that stuff like your bills, your taxes, your court records and so on actually pertain to CAPS-YOU, rather than you.

Since none of this stuff applies to you (it applies to CAPS-YOU), once you just separate the CAPS-YOU from you, then you don't actually need to pay taxes, go to jail, pay bills, etc., because you have broken out of the evil admiralty law system that controls CAPS-YOU! More importantly, by filing a bunch of legal-sounding documents, you can tap into CAPS-YOU's secret Treasury account for your own purposes.

This is all great, except for the fact that it's complete nonsense.


Maritime or admiralty law as a magic get-out-of-jail-free card has also cropped up in the United Kingdom, again closely associated with Freemen on the land and other pseudolaw. This manifests in scenes such as a party to a case entering court and asking the judge: "We claim common law jurisdiction before we enter this vessel ... do we have an accord?" because a court is a boat.[2]


  2. Crazy constitutionalism, Andrew Le Sueur, UK Constitutional Law Association, July 22, 2011