Admiralty law, colloquially known as Space Law, is the name for laws that are applied by a large majority of stellar polities when crime is perpetrated in unclaimed solar systems (such as the majority of the Coreward Periphery) and is usually enforced by the USDF or any other Security forces if available. If accused of these crimes, there must be a trial by one's peers, by a polity who has agreed to join the Joint Security Convention on the Law of Space, also known as the Space Law Treaty (SLT). As such, entities like the United Federation, most of Skrell space, and even the Unathi Hegemony are compliant with the terms of the treaty, while corporations like NanoTrasen, or "enemies" of the Commonwealth like the Ares Confederation,most of the Elysian Colonies or neutral parties such as the Auream Imperium are ineligible.
If a suspect is captured on these charges, they are to be held in prison until the trial can commence. Since it is impractical for small outposts such as the NSB Adephagia to hold prisoners until that time, the nearest polity with capacity should be contacted in the event of a violation so as to transfer the prisoners to a better equipped facility as soon as possible.
To understand how to go about a proper arrest, or other clarifications such a Prisoner Rights, Alert Levels, and more, see Standard Operating Procedure.
Admiralty law, or maritime law, regulates shipping, navigation, commerce, towage, recreational boating, and piracy by private entities on domestic and international waters. It originally covered both natural and man-made navigable waters on Earth, such as rivers and canals. It also covered persons and contracts related to maritime activities, such as seamen, shipping insurance contracts and maritime liens. However, Admiralty law differed from the Law of the Sea, which addressed the territorial, economic and commercial rights of nations to the ocean and its resources. The Law of the Sea also provided controls on marine pollution, transit rights of ships and aircraft, and a dispute resolution mechanism for states.
Shortly after the unification of Earth, Admiralty law was modified and streamlined to cover interstellar space by the Commonwealth Conventions on the Law of Space. After the discovery of other sentient species such as the Skrell, they too were included in the treaty. A few decades after the Hegemony War ended, many Unathi governments also joined the agreement.
Joint Security Convention on the Law of Space
Originally Established by the Terran Commonwealth of Sol-Procyon, the Space Law Treaty forbids the following acts in all sectors of interstellar space, whether known or uncharted. These are unalienable rights intended to preserve the well being of all innocent life forms.
|§SL01||Piracy||To seize property that is under the ownership or care of another entity.||Any artificial object or its contents found in any uninhabited region of space cannot be legally claimed by you unless it has absolutely no living beings present to claim ownership of it, and is unable to operate under its own power. You can legally salvage a ship or its cargo only if it was already abandoned by the time you find it. Repossessing property that was previously stolen from you (or a company you represent) does not count toward this. If you otherwise believe the cargo was stolen, but do not know the owner, fax SolGov to make a claim to find out if you must return the property (in such case you are entitled to a reward), or if you may keep the property for yourself.||5-20 years imprisonment.|
|§SL02||Trespassing||To enter property that is under the ownership or care of another entity without valid permission to do so.||Intention is important in this scenario. If the intention is to seize property, then it's piracy. If there's no malicious intent, then it's just trespassing.||$4,000 in fines, or up to 1 year imprisonment.|
|§SL03||Violent Mutiny||Commandeering a ship through violent or otherwise destructive means.||Threatening to cause severe damage to the ship or crew unless control is handed over falls under this. However, it may be justified in situations wherein the former command staff had created a direct and immediate peril upon the safety of the crew by way of incompetence or malice.||5-20 years imprisonment.|
|§SL04||Grand Sabotage||Causing severe damage to a ship and/or it's property without intention of seizing it.||Destroying or disabling a ship's power source, or engines, or other vital systems such as life support. Creating hull breaches also falls under this. If crew members are severely harmed, see terrorism.||A fine covering the cost of repairs, or up to 10 year imprisonment.|
|§SL05||Slavery||Keeping a sentient being in detainment without proper remuneration or appreciation for services rendered.||You cannot hold someone against their will and force them to do labor. Holding a prisoner in the brig is fine. Allowing a prisoner to do labor as an alternative to prison time is also fine. Forcing a prisoner to perform labor is not legal, and is considered slavery. It must be voluntary so long as it's unpaid, even if the worker is a legitimate prisoner.||20 years to life imprisonment.|
|§SL06||Murder||To kill a sentient being with premeditated and malicious intent.||Premeditated and malicious is important for it to be considered murder and not manslaughter. Manslaughter is not covered by Admiralty Law.||Subject to the judgement of the victim's port of origin, up to and including execution.|
|§SL07||Illegal Waste Dumping||Improper disposal of chemical, biological, or radioactive agents.||Hazardous materials must be appropriately disposed of appropriately. USDF guidelines dictate that jettisoning garbage on a deorbital trajectory with a star is the most ideal method, to ensure complete obliteration of garbage materials. If the illegal dumping results in the destruction of an ecosystem, see Crimes Against the Galaxy.||Between $5,000 to $50 million in fines, depending on the danger and volume of materials.|
|§SL08||Use of Inhumane Weapons||Use of chemical, biological, radioactive agents with the intention to cause harm.||Releasing toxic chemicals (such as phoron), bioweapons (such as viruses), or any radioactive materials into an inhabited area is considered a violation of this law. If the target is not military, see also Terrorism below.||20 years to life imprisonment. Possibly execution.|
|§SL09||Terrorism||Like grand sabotage, but done with the explicit intent to do harm civilians.||Holding hostages, causing breaches in populated civilian areas, or otherwise committing acts intended to cause mass casualties among civilian populations. For serious destruction that does not target or harm civilians, see Grand Sabotage.||5-20 years imprisonment. Possibly execution.|
|§SL10||Unprovoked Military Action||Performing violent acts, or otherwise using military equipment on or towards actors that showed no intent or performed no actions that could reasonably be said to warrant such a response.||Performing unprovoked military raids of other craft without any harm to the crew still falls under this, even if no crew are harmed.||Subject to the judgement of the victim's port of origin, up to and including execution.|
|§SL11||Crimes Against the Galaxy||Any act that needlessly harms or potentially harms lifeforms within a previously undiscovered ecosystem.||The Interstellar Conservation Law of 2476 explicitly forbids hunting, polluting, bombing, weapons testing, eradicating, and other activities deemed detrimental of undiscovered or newly discovered species. This includes unsanctioned construction. Before such activities may begin on new worlds, any findings must be documented with the Society of Universal Cartographers, and then the activity must be permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency under SolGov. Blowing up planets, even those thought uninhabited, is also forbidden.||Between $50 million to $100 billion in fines, depending on severity of the destruction.|
|§SL12||Crimes Against Sentient Life||Any act that deliberately targets and harms members of a sentient species.||Basically this covers anything already forbidden by Crimes Against the Galaxy, except that the act is deliberately killing life forms intelligent enough to understand what genocide is.||Execution.|
Breaking Admiralty Law might result in your character being temporarily or permanently removed from the game. However, there's so few chances for you to even attempt to break these laws that this will probably never happen outside of events, especially considering NanoTrasen has its own laws to deal with most offenses, specifically because they don't want the USDF involved in their affairs.