Judicial Department

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Judicial Department
Board of Admiralty Flag 20th Century.png
Department overview
Superseding department
JurisdictionEngland Government of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of Great Britain Government of the Kingdom of Great Britain
United Kingdom Government of the United Kingdom
HeadquartersLondon, England
Department executive
  • President and Judge of the High Court of Admiralty.
Parent DepartmentAdmiralty and Marine Affairs Office
Department of Admiralty

The Judicial Department also known as the Legal Branch was the collective term to describe the law offices and departments of the British Department of Admiralty.


England's Admiralty Courts date to at least the 1360's, during the reign of Edward III of England. At that time there were three such Courts including those that were unified, appointed by Admirals responsible for waters to the North, South, and West of England. In 1483 these regional courts were amalgamated into a single High Court of Admiralty, administered by the High Admiral of England.[1]

Admiralty jurisdiction was also exercised by Vice-Admiralty Courts in the maritime counties of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales that were administered by the various Vice-Admiralties of the Coast, and abroad in the overseas dominions of the Crown. A similar jurisdiction was also exercised by county courts and certain other inferior courts as a result of 19th century legislation.[2]

Components of the Judicial Department


  1. High Court of Admiralty
  2. Office of the President and Judge of the High Court of Admiralty
  3. Vice-Admiralty Courts of England
  4. Vice-Admiralty Courts of Scotland
  5. Vice-Admiralty Courts of Ireland
  6. Vice-Admiralty Courts of England
  7. Vice-Admiralty Courts of the Coast of Great Britain
  8. Vice-Admiralty Courts Abroad
  9. High Court of Justice, Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, England.
  10. High Court of Justice in Ireland, Kings Bench Division, Admiralty.
  11. Legal Advisers to the Admiralty.
  12. Law Agents to the Solicitor to the Treasury for Admiralty Purposes.
  13. Colonial Courts of Admiralty.
  14. Consular Courts.


  1. Senior, W. (1924). "The Mace of the Admiralty Court". The Mariner's Mirror. 10 (1): 52. doi:10.1080/00253359.1924.10655256.
  2. Archives, The National (1450–1995). "High Court Admiralty Records". The National Archives. Kew, England: National Archives of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  3. Watson, Dr Graham (14 June 2015). "Admiralty Organisation and Functions 1914". www.naval-history.net. Gordon Smith. Retrieved 15 September 2019.