HC Deb 18 May 1914 vol 62 c1556

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether there are any cases on record of foreign subjects having committed breaches of the law on ships flying the British flag being tried in the country to which they belong, or whether inter national law prescribes without any qualification that the offences shall be investigated in the country where the ship is registered; whether British Consuls have any latitude in deciding points which may arise in connection with the matter; and whether, to avoid the imprisonment at the expense of the British taxpayer of foreigners who have no connection what ever with this country, he will consider the possibility of making arrangements for offenders, when willing, to be tried in the country to which they belong?


This is not a matter of international law or discretion, but of the municipal law of this country. A person who commits a crime on a British ship on the high seas does so within the jurisdiction of the British Courts, and must, under British law, be tried and punished accordingly. Any arrangement such as that suggested by the hon. Baronet would involve an alteration of the criminal law of this country, which would not, in my opinion, be likely to commend itself to this House.

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