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Jurisdriction over offences committed ovreseas

Offences are not only committed within the land territories of any state. Crimes may occur in the high seas or off the coast. In response to the increasing number of crimes committed off the coast, the government of Western Australia through its legislative body enacted a law which grants jurisdiction for the court to take cognizance of cases off the coast.

The Commonwealth and the states in Australia enacted a law to overcome the necessity of using the Imperial legislation just to give the state court jurisdiction over crimes committed offshore. Some of the Commonwealth legislation is the Crimes at Sea Act 2000 and the Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980.

The Coastal Waters Act gives authority to the state to enact laws in connection with offshore crime which is fully applicable to the territorial sea including the area within 12 nautical miles which was considered before the enactment of the law as part of the state. This area is by the force of the state.

The Crimes at Sea Act has scheduled cooperative schemes which enable the criminal law of each state applicable to areas adjacent to the state up to 200 nautical miles extending to the outer limit of the continental shelf. This area is then considered under the force of the law of the Commonwealth. This cooperative scheme is applicable to crimes committed within the foreign ships and Australian ships. To fully acquire jurisdiction over the crimes committed within a foreign ship, prior written consent of the Commonwealth Attorney General must first be secured.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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