Jurisdiction in Marginal Seas: With Special Reference to Smuggling

By William E. Masterson | Go to book overview

PART II THE LAW OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE

INTRODUCTION

IT has been noted in another connection that in 1854 the Law Officers of the Crown rendered an opinion to the effect that the jurisdiction of a British colony is confined to the distance of three miles from the shore. The Solicitor to the Board of Customs rendered an opinion in 1864, confirming that of the Law Officers in 1854, on the ground that the grant of the Crown extended no farther than three miles seaward. "It may be held," he said, "that the Colonial jurisdiction seaward is bounded by the league whether the Crown has any inherent jurisdiction beyond or not."1

As a result of this last opinion, the Board reported to the Treasury that the colonies did not have the power to impose penalties on persons other than inhabitants thereof, or to confiscate vessels not owned by them, for acts committed beyond the distance of three miles from the shore, and that, therefore, the Victoria law, which was submitted to the Secretary of State for the colonies, and, in turn, to the Treasury for an opinion of certain of its sections taking jurisdiction for the same distance adopted by the Imperial acts then in force,2 should be modified in so far as it affected ships and inhabitants of the mother country or of other colonies beyond that distance.

____________________
1
See p. 141, supra.
2
Sec. 25 of 18 & 19 Vict, c. 96, and secs. 216, 217, and 242 of 16 & 17 Vict., c. CVII.

-163-

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