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The Piracy Act 1698 c.7 was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of England passed in the eleventh year of William III. The long title of the Act is "An Act for the more effectuall Suppressions of Piracy". [1]

It altered the Offences at Sea Act 1536, to say that "all piracies, felonies, and robberies committed in or upon the sea, or in any haven, river, creek, or place, where the admiral or admirals have power, authority, or jurisdiction, may be examined, inquired of, tried, heard and determined, and adjudged, according to the directions of this Act, in any place at sea, or upon the land, in any of his majesty’s islands, plantations, colonies, dominions, forts, or factories, to be appointed for that purpose by the King’s commission or commissions under the great seal of England, or the seal of the admiralty of England, directed to all or any of the admirals, viceadmirals, reer-admirals, judges of vice-admiralties, or commanders of any of his majesty’s ships of war, and also to all or any such person or persons, officer or officers, by name, or for the time being, as his majesty shall think fit to appoint;" - in other words, pirates could be tried other than in England, due to the "great trouble and charges in sending them into England to be tried within the realm".

It also added the death penalty for subjects committing piracy or robbery upon other subjects whilst under the colours of a "foreign prince or state", or for being an accessory to piracy; and added some new offences including deserting a ship (forfeiture of all wages) and refusing to "bring home with him again all such of the men which he carried out with him" (three months imprisonment). The death penalty under this Act was abolished by the Piracy Act 1837. It was finally repealed in the UK by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1993.[1], and in Australia by the Statute Law Amendment Act 2002 (No 2).


  1. ^ 'William III, 1698-9: An Act for the more effectuall Suppressions of Piracy. [Chapter VII. Rot. Parl. 11 Gul. III. p. 2. n. 5.]', Statutes of the Realm: volume 7: 1695-1701 (1820), pp. 590-94. URL: Date accessed: 16 February 2007.

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