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1333

Addenda ete.

§276b»s. p. 508. Insérer un paragraphe nouveau, numéföté § 2761"8 :

Dans 1'affaire des Vesta and other vessels (1338), la Cour de première instance de Londres a fait encore une apphcation curieuse du principe qui est a la base de 1'ancienne doctrine relative aux transferts en transit, en déclarant nul a 1'égard du capteur, non seulement le changement de propriétaire, mais encore le changement du „caractère" du propriétaire en cours d'expédition. C.-a.-d. : conformément a 1'ancien principe du droit des prises qui permet aux beUigérants de dénier tout effet juridique a la naturahsation en pays , neutre, d'un sujet ennemi pendant la guerre [comp. a ce sujet §§ 229, (ï), et 230, (2)], la Cour de Londres dénie, dans le jugement cité ci-d'éssus, tout effet juridique a un changement du „caractère" national d'une société par actions, effectué par suite du transfert de la majeure partie du capital-actions par les actionnaires ennemis a des personnes neutres :

The second event was that of a change in the ownership of the shares

in the Internationale Magnesietwerken (assignment of the ninety-

eight shares which were in German ownership at the outbreak of war,

to a Citizen of the Netherlands, on March 21, 1916) I come to the

conclusion, for reasons which I wül state presently, that the second of those facts — the transformation in the shareholding of the Internationale Magnesietwerken — has no material effect in this case . .

It was said that the company, although an enemy company at the date of the contract, had become a neutral company at the date of the transfer of the goods. I had great difficulty in appreciating the full effect of that proposition. The transaction which was relied upon seems to be one of those transactions of an elusive character which have always been held in Courts of Prize to be insufficiënt to defeat the rights of capfcafe It has been said that the reason why paper transactions effected during the voyage of a ship cannot be examined as against the right of capture is that it is almost impossible to ascertain the truth in such a case ; that the fabrication of a case is simple, and the effèctive examination of it is almost impossible. If that is a test which has to be apphed to commercial transactions of an everyday kind, I have asked myself, How is it possible that a transaction such as is here relied upon — a change in the ownership of shares in an incorporated company with its effect upon the disposition of the management of the company — can be set_up as an answer to the right of capture, or can be regarded m a Court of Pnze as an answer to the right of capture ? . . . . It is a process which lends itself to fraud. I do not think there was any fraud m this case, but L decline to examine the question. I decline to consider whether, m the course of the transit of this ship, the German vendors of the goods had changed theb character, or had divested themselves of their enemy Hf disabÜities."

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