Page images
PDF
EPUB

the case took this turn, one of the grounds urged on the part of Miller was that the process of the Court of Admiralty of England could not be legally executed in Ireland; and upon a case subsequently stated to the Attorney and Solicitor General and Counsel for the Admiralty in Ireland, those officers gave an opinion that the Court of Admiralty of England had not the power of executing its warrant in Ireland, even though the objections in point of form to the warrant were removed.

The statutes which will be found to bear on the subject-matter of this case are the following, and extracts or copies of those passed in Ireland will be left herewith, viz.: 11, 12, & 13 James 1, c . 2 (Irish Act), similar in principle to the English Act 28 Hen. 8, c. 15, which requires that all treasons, felonies, robberies, murders, and confederacies committed within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty, shall be tried according to the course of the common law, and not according to that of the civil law, as had theretofore been usual. This Act of Henry VIII. not including misdemeanors, the statute 39 Geo. 3, c. 37, intituled, "An Act for remedying certain defects in the law respecting offences committed on the high seas," was passed by the British Parliament, 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 14 (Irish Act), intituled, "An Act for regulating the High Court of Admiralty in this kingdom." This statute, it will be seen, authorized his Majesty to appoint under the great seal of Admiralty in that kingdom, with full power to hear and determine all civil, maritime, and other causes, and gave an appeal from the sentence to the King in Chancery, directing the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, under the great seal of that kingdom, to appoint a Commission of Delegates, who, and none others, are declared to have full power finally to determine all such appeals. And the 4th section, after reciting the Act of King James abovementioned, enacts that all commissions to be issued by virtue of that statute shall be directed to the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty of Ireland, and others to be nominated by the Lord Chancellor there; which Commissioners, or any two of them, and none other, are declared to have power to hear and determine the several offences mentioned in the statute. It will be observed that in this Act the statute of King James has been mis-recited, that part of it which requires the commission to be directed to the "Admiral or Admirals, or to his or their Lieutenant-General, deputy or deputies," having been omitted. And it may be remarked that as no Act passed in Ireland similar to the 39 Geo. 3, c. 37, there could be no jurisdiction entertained in the Irish Court of Admiralty over misdemeanors committed on the sea, the Act 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 14, confining the authority of the Commissioners in that court to the offences named in the Act of King James I.

In the 13th & 15th sections of the Irish Act, 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 4, being "An Act for regulating the Sugar Trade," &c., allusion is made to the condemnation, by an Admiralty Court in Ireland, of sugars taken as prize of war and brought into that kingdom. By the Act of Union of the two kingdoms (39 & 40 Geo. 3, c. 67, in the British Parliament, and 40 Geo. 3, c. 38, in that of Ireland), it is established in the 8th Article as follows: "That all laws in force at the time of the Union, and all the courts of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction within the respective kingdoms, shall remain as now by law established within the same, subject only to such alterations from time to time as circumstances may appear to the Parliament of the United Kingdom to require: provided that all writs of error and appeals depending at the time of the Union, or hereafter to be brought, and which might now be finally decided by the House of Lords of either kingdom, shall from and after the Union be finally decided by the House of Lords of the United Kingdom; and provided that from and after the Union there shall remain in Ireland an Instance Court of Admiralty for the administration of causes civil and maritime only, and that the appeal from sentences of the said Court shall be to His Majesty's delegates in his Court of Chancery in that part of the United Kingdom called Ireland, and that all laws at present in force in either kingdom which shall be contrary to any of the provisions which may be enacted for carrying these articles into effect, be from and after the Union repealed."

The questions which have been suggested as arising out of this case are as follow:

1. Whether the Court of Admiralty in Ireland is a Supreme Court or merely a Vice-Admiralty Court, and in any way dependent on the High Court of Admiralty iu England?

2. What is the description of causes falling within the meaning of the words " civil and maritime," as expressed in the 8th Article of the Act of Union?

3. Whether the English and Irish Courts of Admiralty, respectively, have concurrent jurisdiction in all parts of the sea?

4. Whether process of the High Court of Admiralty of England in prize causes runs into the Irish provinces?

5. Or process in proceedings for contempts? 6". Or process in causes civil or maritime?

7. In what manner should indictments in prosecutions instituted in a Court of Admiralty under the Acts passed in Ireland, 11, 12, & 13 James 1, c. 2, and 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 14, be entitled; whether Admiralty of England, or Admiralty of Ireland, or Admiralty of the United Kingdom, or the Vice-Admiralty county or province in which the Court is held?

8. In what manner and form, and under what seal, should the commission for holding such Court be made out?

9. Whether, if the warrant against Alexander Miller, set forth in Case, had been executed in England, the defendant would have been entitled to his discharge on writ of habeas corpus?

10. Whether any suit can be entertained in a Court of Admiralty in Ireland for wearing illegal colours?

11. And, lastly, whether there ever existed an Admiralty in Ireland?

Opinion.—1. We are of opinion that the Irish Admiralty Court is not a Vice-Admiralty Court, nor in any way dependent on the High Court of Admiralty in England; and that in all matters over which it has jurisdiction there is no court superior to it, but there is an appeal from it to the King in Chancery in Ireland.

2. We think that the words "causes civil and maritime " comprehend all matters generally cognizable by Admiralty Courts, save only matters of prize and of criminal jurisdiction.

3. The Judge who, before the declaration of Irish independence in 1782, was appointed for the Court of Admiralty in Ireland, took his patent from the great seal of the English Admiralty, which expressly limited his jurisdiction by the words "in and throughout the kingdom of Ireland and parts thereof, and to the same adjacent whatsoever." But since the English statute 6 Geo. 1, c. 5 (which had asserted the subordinate character of Ireland), has been repealed by the 22 Geo. 3, c. 53, which was understood to be a recognition of her rightful independence; since likewise the 23 Geo. 3, c. 28, has taken away the appellate jurisdiction of the English Courts; and since, in fine, the Act of Union has practically admitted the independence of Ireland as a contracting party, it seems to follow that tho Courts of Admiralty in England and in Ireland have now become mutually independent, and have therefore each the same jurisdiction in the waters of the other island which belongs to either in the waters of any foreign State. 4, 5, 6. Our answer is in the negative.

7. The proper title is "Admiralty of Ireland."

8. The commission under 12 & 13 James 1, c. 2, and 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 14 (both Irish), should be made out under the Great Seal of Ireland, in the manner and form pointed out by the latter statute.

9. We think that in England the warrant set forth in the case would have been held sufficient.

10. We think no proceeding for wearing illegal colours could be entertained by any Admiralty Court in Ireland, neither by the Instance Court, inasmuch as this is not a cause "civil or maritime" within the 8th Article of the Act of Union, nor yet by the commission under the Acts of James L and George III., inasmuch as these Acts do not extend to any misdemeanors except confederacies.

11. This seems not to be a question of law.

J. S. Copley. Charles Wetherell. W. C. Plunket. J. Leslie Foster. Serjeants' Inn, August 18, 1824. Horace Twiss.

(10.) Joint Opinion of the King's Advocate, Sir ChrisTopher Robinson, and the Admiralty Advocate, Mr. Arnold, on the Irish Admiralty Court. 1825.

1. We are of opinion that the Irish Admiralty Court is not a Vice-Admiralty Court, nor in any way dependent on the High Court of Admiralty in England, and that in all matters over which it has jurisdiction there is no court superior to it, but there is an appeal from it to the King in Chancery in Ireland.

2. We think that the words "causes civil and maritime" comprehend all matters generally cognizable by Admiralty Courts, save only matters of prize and criminal jurisdiction.

3. Considering the description of the jurisdiction in the patent of the Judge before the statute 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 14 (Irish), and considering the words of that statute, which was made for the purpose of regulating this Court, we should be of opinion that the jurisdiction was limited and extended only, in the words of the patent, "in and throughout the kingdom of Ireland, and parts thereof, and to the same adjacent whatsoever." Of the full extent and effects of the recognition of Ireland as an independent kingdom by the statute of 1782 and the Union, we do not think ourselves qualified to give an opinion. We think that the High Court of Admiralty of Ireland is now to be considered as having general Admiralty jurisdiction, civil and maritime, as limited by the Articles of Union. But how far this will establish a concurrence with the High Court of Admiralty of England, considering the different circumstances that may be connected with their origin and practice, we cannot venture to say. In causes depending on particular statutes, and cases that might be put of appellate jurisdiction, it certainly would not.

4. 5, 6. Our answer is in the negative.

7. The proper title is "Admiralty of Ireland."

8. The commission under 12 & 13 James 1, c. 2, and 23 & 24 Geo. 3, c. 14 (both Irish), should be made out under the Great Seal of Ireland, in the manner and form pointed out by the latter statute.

9. We think that in England the warrant set forth in the case would have been held sufficient.

10. We think no proceeding for wearing illegal colours could be entertained in any Admiralty Court in Ireland—neither by the Instance Court, inasmuch as this is not a cause "civil or maritime" within the 8th Article of the Act of Union; nor yet by the commission under the Acts of James I. and George III., inasmuch as these Acts do not extend to any misdemeanor except confederacies.

11. This seems not to be a question of law.

Chbist. Robinson. Doctors' Commons, August 18, 1825. J. H. Arnold.

« PreviousContinue »