KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
In the Spanish Inquisition, they would go into a town and send some spies around. Then their spies would go into court and make some allegations. They did not have to be true - the truth did not matter at all.
Under Admiralty Maritime Law, they would forcibly bring you into their court and present their allegations. If you argued "the facts", in the case, you were guilty. Under law merchant, if you create a dishonor, you are guilty. For example, if you do not respond to a presentment in the required time (3 days according to Regulation Z - truth in lending) then you have created a dishonor. Law Merchant is private law (contract law) and ignorance of the law is no excuse. The penalty in most cases was death, and the judge and the prosecutor would split up your property.
If you beg for mercy, you might get away with your life, depending on what the judge feels like, if he feels like being merciful, but they would most certainly put you in jail. Then the judge and prosecutor would get a nice royalty from the case, at a minimum.
If you were smart enough to argue the law, you might get off.
They are literally pirates on the high seas of commerce looking to get some prize.
The Concessions to the Pope (1213)
In 1213, King John Signed a Concession to the Pope, in which he swore allegiance to the Vatican. In the Concessions to the Pope (1213), King John agrees to pay tribute to the Vatican, which continues to this day.
The Magna Carta (1215)
In 1215, the Welsh Barons rose upin rebellion against the tyrant King John and stuck a sword to his throat and said; "Here King, we want you to sign this." The Magna Carta has Admiralty Maritime Law wriutten all over it. It even talks about "The Inquisition". It took ONLY 2 years for the people to rise up in rebellion against the things that were being done.