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CHAPTER XV.

AUTHORITY, JURISDICTION, PROCEDURE.

The Board of Trade . . .589

Its Executive Authority 589

The Court of Admiralty . . 592

Jurisdiction . . . . 592

Procedure. . 595
Priority of Suitors and

Liens . . . . 596

Marshalling Assets . . 600

Courts of Equity and Common Law 602

Equity Jurisdiction on Title 602

Common Law Jurisdiction in

Damage causes . .603 as to Foreign Ships doing

Damage . . CO 4

Procedure. . . . 605

Evidence . . . . 606

Magistrates COS

Jurisdiction . . . . COS

Limitation of Proceedings . 608

Orders, how enforced . . 608

Stipendiary Magistrate . 609

The Board of Trade is, by statute, the department to under- Board op take the general superintendence of matters relating to mer- tradkchant ships and seamen, and is authorised to carry into execution the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, and of all other Acts relating to merchant ships and seamen in force Exkoctivb Iofor th e time being, other than such Acts as relate to the Tn0RITTrevenue.1 Documents purporting to be issued by it under As to Dochsignature or seal are receivable in evidence without proof.* ments" Forms sanctioned by it are of authority, and the same, when required, are indispensable in evidence on the part of shipowners or masters.'

All consular officers, and all officers of customs abroad, all As to Officers local marine boards and shipping masters, are to make and rine Boards, send such reports and returns, and produce such documents from their custody respecting British shipping and seamen as the Board may require.' Every officer of the Board, every

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In eases of Accident.

In the business of Local Marine Biards.

With regard to Shipping Masters, Masters, and Mates.

With regard to
Seamen.

commissioned officer on full pay in Her Majesty's ships, the Registrar-General of seamen and his assistant, every chief officer of customs in any place in Her Majesty's dominions, and every shipping-master, is armed with authority to investigate and call for documents, and summon before him certain persons under penalty for refusal in any case in which he has reason to suspect that the British shipping laws are being evaded.1 The Board may appoint special inspectors, furnished with all necessary powers, to inquire into the nature and causes of any accident or damage sustained by shipping, and to ascertain whether the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, or regulations made in virtue of it, have been complied with, and whether the hull and machinery of any steamship are sufficient and in good condition.3

The Board nominates four members of every Local Marine Board, retains a general supervision of the business, expenses and duties of these local authorities, with power to rectify, annul, or alter, their appointments or arrangements, and to assume their duties into its own hands when these are left unperformed, or appoint others to discharge them.3

Shipping masters are appointed under its sanction, and discharge their duties subject to its control/ Candidates for certificates of mates and masters are examined by its authority, and may, although reported competent, be required by it to submit to a re-examination before persons specially nominated for that end, the Board continuing to retain complete control of all certificates granted, with power for sufficient cause to suspend or cancel them at any time afterwards.'

All seamen engaged in British vessels in the home or foreign trade, are, by a system of returns, placed on the general register of British seamen. This begins with the apprenticing of the boy to the service; it is repeated every six months in the home trade; it is renewed at the beginning and end of even' voyage to foreign parts; and from every port abroad where the ship merely touches, the sailor's complaint and the account of his condition may reach the central department in London,

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whilst he himself is already on his way home, under the protection of British power, to seek his remedy in a court of justice.1 Provision is made against the discharge or leaving behind of British seamen in parts abroad, for the relief of the sick and destitute, and interment of the dead found there; for inquiry into the cause of deaths on board, and for the collection and administration of the deceased's effects.'

Passenger steamers,' sailing to, from, or between places in With regard to the United Kingdom, are surveyed once every half year, and steamers, oftener if the Board desire it, by their inspectors; and cannot clear out at any British custom-house without the Board's certificate of compliance and sufficiency; which certificate, although expressed to be available for a time certain, is yet liable to be cancelled at any time by the Board, for sufficient cause.4

Accidents to steamers, occasioning material damage to the In case of Acoivessel, or loss of life, or personal injury, are to be reported to gTM*9Steam the Board by the master, within twenty-four hours thereof, or as soon after as possible; and apprehended loss of steamers is to be reported to the Board by the owner, within a reasonable time of his entertaining such apprehension.' In case of accidents, we have seen that the Board may send an inspector to investigate the causes at the place of the accident or the port of arrival, with full powers to that end, and under duty of reporting on the same to the Board."

The Board may, upon appeal,' revoke or alter the bye-laws of with regard to any pilotage authority; inspect all books and documents in their ^Authorities." possession; enforce the periodical delivery of certain returns; may grant pilotage certificates, when refused by the local authorities, or revise modifications thereof, or terms imposed on the candidates; and may withdraw any certificate already granted, when sufficient cause exists."

The Board may, upon complaint, inspect lighthouses, buoys, With regard to and beacons, and require information respecting them, from L,8nthouBestime to time, from the general lighthouse authorities; and

1 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104, 141-143, 145, * Ibid. § 304-321.

158, 161, 162, 271-279, 205-213, 232, 5 Ibid. § 326, 327.

2R0-266, 267-270. "Ibid. § 14, 16, 432, 433-43?.

* Ibid. 205-213, 269, 270, 194-204. 'Who may appeal, ibid. § 330.

J What are such, ibid. § 303. ■ Ibid. 336-344.

With regard to tlie Mercantile Marine Fund.

With regard to Wreck.

In cases of Damage and Loss of Life or Personal Injury.

without the sanction of the Board no local authority may be compelled to alter or discontinue existing lighthouses, buoys, or beacons, or provide new ones, nor any increase of the establishment of any lighthouse authority be made, after being once fixed.1

The Mercantile Marine Fund is in the hands of the Board, the accounts of which are to be rendered every year to the Public Audit Commissioners, and laid before Parliament*

The Board has the general superintendence of all matters relating to wreck throughout the United Kingdom; with power to reward salvors of life from the Mercantile Marine Fund; and to receive the proceeds of all unclaimed wreck.'

In cases of loss of life, or personal injury, occasioned by any British ship, the Board of Trade may institute proceedings against the owners, and, upon receipt or recovery of damages, may distribute the same, as it shall think fit, among the claimants, subject to the statutory provisions already noticed in respect thereof/

JORISDrOTION OF

Thr Admiralty

Court.

Generally.

Iu causes of
Possession.

In the course of the preceding pages, there has been frequent occasion to advert to the jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty. "We have been obliged to discuss the leading principles of the maritime law relating to bottomry, maritime liens, employment of the ship by some against the will of other of the part-owners, wages, pilotage, towage, salvage, and damage causes. And when it is remembered that we have invariably considered the remedy that was open to the claimant under each particular, it will be seen that already we have all but completed the compass of that jurisdiction. The advantage of that course over any that would have reserved the question of legal remedies and jurisdiction for separate consideration, is a sufficient reason for not repeating here what is elsewhere stated in connection with each subject. The jurisdiction of that Court over causes of possession still remains to be considered.

The right of possession, broadly considered, is immediately

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dependent on the possession of title; indeed, at common law, the one is a mode of trying the other; and how any jurisdiction could determine a right of possession, that dare not entertain a question of property, would have heen inconceivable but for the existence of the English Court of Admiralty. It had surrendered even the pretence of trying questions of title, although of the most incidental and subordinate character; so completely had untiring jealousy and incessant prohibitions effected their object.1 All, therefore, it could do, was to transfer possession to a majority of the owners.1 The claim of a moiety would have placed the court between balanced numbers, with a total incapacity to decide between them; but it declined invariably such a humiliating position.5 A minority could obtain no more than the protection of bail, or a bond for return of the ship without loss to the dissentients/ A moiety could have had as much.1

If the question of property had been determined elsewhere, it would give effect to the judgment,6 even of a foreign court when pronounced in respect of a ship of the same country.' It would transfer possession from the hands of a captor to the original owners, notwithstanding the doubtful rights of a purchaser, under sale by the master, referring his claim to another tribunal.' But the possession, even of such a purchaser, it would refuse to disturb in favour of the original owners and the determination of questions of ownership between foreigners, involving the municipal laws of other countries, it always declined."

"Where the possession," says Lord Stowell, "is gained by force and violence, or by a fraud, manifest upon the very face

1 See the judgment of Lord Stowell in The Warrior, Peache, 2 Dods. Ad. 288.

5 Per Lord Stowell, The Pitt, Crosse, 1 Hagg. Ad. 240 ; per Dr. Lushington, The Elizabeth and Jane, Miller, 1 W. Rob. Ad. 278. The Valiant, Griffiths, 1 id. 67.

1 The Elizabeth & Jane, Miller, 1W. Rob. Ad. 278; The Egyptienne, Parkman, 1 Hagg. Ad. 346 n.

4 The Apollo, Tennant, 1 Hagg. Ad. 508. 311.

i The Elisabeth & Jane, Millar, 1 W. liob. Ad. 278.

* Per Lord Stowell, The Pitt, Crosse, 1 Hagg. Ad. 240.

7 The See Reuter, Lange, 1 Dods. Ad. 23.

8 The Fanny & Elmira, Hicks, Edw. Ad. 117.

■ The Pitt, Crosse, 1 Hagg. Ad. 240.

10 The Johan k Siegmund, Niegel, Edw. Ad. 242; The Martin of Norfolk. MeCrohan, 4 C. Rob. Ad. 293, 297.

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