In times of war, military space fleets are always pushed to the limit. There are never enough vessels to both engage the enemy and defend critical star systems. Thus, despite its firm commitment to law and order, the Republic is not above sanctioning outlaw starship captains to take up arms against the Empire.
The laws governing Republic privateers are kept deliberately simple in acknowledgement of the personality types who accept such work. First, no attacks on civilian transports or population centers are permitted. Second, Republic privateers are expressly forbidden to engage in criminal acts like slavery and murder. Armed robbery of Imperial military vessels and the smuggling of contraband goods pillaged from the enemy are left in an undefined moral gray area, however.