HC Deb 30 March 1909 vol 3 c310W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to explain the meaning in the final protocol of the London Naval Conference of the paragraph in italics on page 71 of Cd. 4554 of 1909, with reference to difficulties of a constitutional nature standing in the way of the ratification of The Hague Convention of 1907 in establishing an international prize court; what are the constitutional difficulties therein referred to, and in what countries do they arise; and can he state, with regard to each country, by what method it is proposed to avoid them?


I would refer the hon. Member to Paragraph 71 of the General Report of the British delegates on the results of the Conference (see page 103 of the Blue Book Miscellaneous No. 4). The United States delegates at the Conference explained that the terms of the Constitution of the United States precluded the possibility of allowing appeals from decisions of the United States Prize Courts or Supreme Court to be taken to an International Court. In order to meet this difficulty, they proposed that parties, having under the Prize Court Convention the right to appeal to the International Court, should be allowed, instead of so appealing, to institute proceedings in the International Court for a re-hearing of their case "de novo"; and that, if that Court decided in their favour, such decision should take the form of an award of compensation. I am not aware whether the same difficulty would arise in any other countries besides the United States.