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Originally published in 1792, this work was revised (incorporating new material) and corrected for the 1805 edition, reissued here.
As a ship's purser and occasional Judge Advocate, Delafons had considerable experience of advising in naval courts martial, including first-hand involvement for the defence in the trial of Peter Heywood, a midshipman on board H.M.S. Bounty during the mutiny of 1789.
He intended this work to be a textbook for conducting judicial proceedings in the Royal Navy, and it is also now a fundamental text for historians and researchers in both the legal and naval history of a period of British maritime supremacy.
Delafons covers the subjects of jurisdiction, evidence, sentencing, and the roles of individuals within the trial. He also makes a comparison between the law of the Navy and its practical applications and that of the civil courts, and examines the development of the Naval Code itself.