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§ 249.

460

i°. Ante bellum shipments.

§ 249. La situation légale, d'après le droit des prises anglais, des marchandises transférées en vertu de contrats de vente conclus „ante bellum", résulte clairement de la décision de la Cour de Londres relative au Miramichi (20).

D'après le résumé qu'en donne 1'éditeur des „British & Colonial Prize Cases", il s'agissait ici des faits suivants [von aussi § 245] : „Before any anticipation of hnimnent war seUers made a c.i.f. contract of sale of wheat to buyers, and in f ulfilment of the conttact sijjb-contracted with a merchant to buy wheat shipped by him, and received from him the bill of lading for it, which was indorsed generally. War supervened during the voyage. The sellers were neutrals, and the port of destination was neutral, but the buyers to whom the goods were to be delivered at the port of destination were enemies in the enemy country. The sellers' bankers, who were neutrals, had discounted the bill of exchange drawn by the seUers on the buyers, and had f orwarded it and the bill of exchange and the certificates of insurance to a bank in the enemy country for tender of the latter documents against acceptance of the bül of exchange. The vessel was British, and was diverted to a British port, where the wheat was seized by the Crown as prize. Shortly after the seizure the enemy buyers in the enemy country refused to take up the documents. The seUers claimed the wheat as theb property."

Dans cette affaire 1'Attorney-General soutenait que la cargaison était susceptible de confiscation, paree qu'eüe était aux risques et périls des acheteurs ennemis ; la cour des prises, au contraire, décida que le droit de propriété du chargement — le seul point de critère admissible — n'avait pas encore passé du vendeur a 1'acheteur et que, par conséquent, les marchandises saisies devaient toujours être considérées comme neutres [voir sur la question du droit de propriété ou du risque § 242 et ss.].

Abstraction faite de cette controverse, la cour des prises fait quelques observations sur la question générale du transfert de la propriété de marchandises, d'oü ü appert que le juge anglais distingue nettement entre les „ante beüum" et les „post beüum shipments", et qu'ü apphque aux premiers le droit civü anglais.

I desbe to point out, and to emphasise that nothing which I shaü say in this case is applicable to capture or seizure at sea or in port of any property dealt with during the war, or in anticipation of the war. Questions relating to such property are on an entirely different footing from those relating to transactions initiated during the happier tunes of peace The former are determined largely or mainly upon consideraüons of the rights of belhgerents, and of attempts to def eat such rights [nuüité,

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