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Report No. 62

1B.4. Rebuttable presumption in England.-

In England, it is a well founded, though rebuttable, presumption that Parliament does not assert or assume jurisdiction which goes beyond the limits established by the common consent of nations'1. In 1808, Lord Ellemborough2 put the famous rhetorical question repeated in 1870 by Lord Blackbura)3:-

"Can the island of Tobago pass a law to bind the rights of the whole world? Would the world submit to such an assumed jurisdiction?"

1. (a) Theophile v. Solicitor-General, 1950 AC 186 (195) (per Lord Porter);

(b) Colquhoun v. Heldon, (1890) 25 QB 129 (134, 135) (per Lord Esher).

2. Buchanan v. Rucker, (1808) 9 East 192.

3. Schibsby v. Westenholz, 1870 LR 6 QB 155 (160).

1B.4A. Rule of construction in England as to territorial extent.-

Prima facie, an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, unless it provides otherwise, applies to the whole of the U.K. and to no event outside U.K.1 Of course, it is clear that the United Kingdom Parliament can legislate extra-territorially,2 and if it does so, English courts must treat the statute as valid, and give it effect3.

1. A.G. Alberta v. Ruggards Assets etc., (1953) 2 All ER 951 (956) (PC).

2. (a) Call v. Papayanni, (1863) 1 Moo PC (NS) 471: 15 ER 778;

(b)Niboyet v. Niboyet, LR (1873) 4 PDI.

(c) Wendt (in re:), (1889) 22 QBD 733;

(d)Adam v. British & Foreign S.S. Co., (1898) 2 QB 430;

(e) C.E.B. Draper v. Edward Turner, (1965) 1 QB 424: (1964) 3 All ER 148 (152).

3. Theophile v. Solicitor-General, (1950) 1 All ER 405 (HL).

1B.5. The rule is sometimes stated in the succinct form of the principle that "unless the contrary is made clear, an Act of Parliament is not intended to have extra-territorial effect.1

1. Bank Voor Handel on Scheenvaart v. Statford, (1953) 1 QB 248 (258), per Devlin J. (as he then was).



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