HC Deb 07 December 1911 vol 32 cc1637-8

This Part of this Act shall apply only to such cases and during such period as may for the time being be directed by Order in Council, and His Majesty may by the same or any other Order in Council apply this Part of this Act subject to such conditions, exceptions, and qualifications as may be deemed expedient.


I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words "But in no case shall it apply to matters or questions not definitely specified in the Declaration of London."

The object of the Amendment is really to get rid of the uncertainty which attaches to the words "equity and justice." We are told that this International Prize Court, under certain conditions, which the Declaration of London does not specify, is to adjudicate according to its own ideas of equity and justice, and I think we should limit the power of the International Court to such agreement as exists in the Declaration of London, and that it shall not be extended by the vague use of the words "equity and justice."


I rise to a point of Order. As it appears to me, I submit to you that this Amendment is out of order for this reason. The Bill begins with a Preamble which refers to the Convention which is in the Schedule. We have already started Part III. of the Bill. Under Clause 23, which provided "In the event of an International Prize Court being constituted in accordance with the said convention." The hon. Gentleman is now proposing to move that this International Prize Court shall not have the jurisdiction which the Convention assigns to it. Article 7 of the Convention states, In the absence of such provisions the Court shall apply the rules of International law. If no generally recognised rule exists the Court shall give judgment in accordance with the general principles of justice and equity. The hon. Member is now moving in effect that the Court shall not have that portion of its jurisdiction. That is the basis on which the whole Bill proceeds, and we have already passed Clause 23.


I respectfully submit that the Amendment is in order. A proposal is made to the House to give effect to the Convention by the provisions under Part III. which we are now discussing. The House may refuse to give effect at all to the provisions of the Convention, and surely it is open to us to say we will give effect to the provisions of the Convention only partially, namely, where the Court has some guide by the Declaration of London.


I do not think it is open to the House to say we will accept this Declaration in part. We must take the whole of it or none, and as the Declaration contains these words: "The Court shall apply the rules of International law. If no generally recognised rule exists the Court shall give judgment in accordance with the general principle of justice and equity"—it is to be assumed that in confirming this Convention Parliament assents to everything contained in that Declaration.

Amendment made: At the end of the Clause insert the words "Provided that no such Order in Council shall be issued until the other Powers mentioned in Article 15 of the Convention set out in the First Schedule to this Act, if parties to the Convention, have made provision to secure within their several jurisdictions the enforcement of all orders and decrees of the said International Prize Court in the matter of appeals and transfers from the several Prize Courts."—[Mr. Butcher.]

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