Journal Title

Boston University International Law Journal





First Page


Document Type


Publication Information

Spring 2020


Collective efforts among governments and regional organizations is a vital part of the fight against piracy that represents a security threat to all nation states with respect to freedom to navigate the high seas. This paper provides a concise overview of piracy, contemporary maritime drug laws, and cases among the circuit courts to illustrate the procedural concerns that affect fundamental constitutional principles of jurisdiction. A possible solution to existing substantive and procedural due process issues is establishment of a regional judicial institution with broad powers to preside over criminal prosecutions that include maritime crimes. The suggestion may be a viable means to resolve some concerns with respect to jurisdictional principles, regional stability, and the need for a comprehensive, coordinated response within the Western Hemisphere. Establishing a tribunal to.preside over enforcement practices alleviates dependency on the existing legal framework that may not fully resolve jurisdictional issues associated with maritime drug trafficking. In addition, a regional tribunal minimizes the need for the United States to function as the only viable, sovereign nation-state in the Americas to ensure that pirates engaged in illicit trades are not roaming the high seas with impunity.

Recommended Citation

Marshall B. Lloyd & Robert L. Summers, Pirates on the High Seas: An Institutional Response to Expanding U.S. Jurisdiction in Troubled Waters, 38 B.U. Int'l L. J. 75 (2020).



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.