right of hot pursuit

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The right of a coastal state to pursue a foreign ship within its territorial waters (or possibly its contiguous zone) and there capture it if the state has good reason to believe that this vessel has violated its laws. The hot pursuit may – but only if it is uninterrupted – continue onto the high seas, but it must terminate the moment the pursued ship enters the territorial waters of another state, as such pursuit would involve an offence to the other state (unless during conflict); in these circumstances extradition should be employed instead. The doctrine applies equally to aircraft that intrude into local airspace.

Subjects: Law.

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