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APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VII
INSURANCE ON ENEMY GOODS
Statement by Sir EDWARD BEAUCHAMP, Bart., M.P., Chairman of Lloyd's, at the International Conference on Maritime
Law at Copenhagen, on 16th May, 1913.
British Underwriters have naturally paid great attention to the question of the payment of claims on Enemy Goods insured with them, and the Committee of Lloyd's have obtained from their legal advisers an opinion, of which I will read the material parts:
1. 'Upon the declaration of war between Great Britain and a Foreign Power all contracts pending between British Subjects and subjects of the Foreign Power become unenforceable so long as the war lasts.
2. 'Consequently a British Underwriter is under no enforceable liability to a subject of the Foreign Power in respect of a loss occurring during the war under a Policy effected in time of peace; and, in respect of a loss which had occurred, before the declaration of war, under such a Policy, he can claim to have legal proceedings against him for its recovery suspended until the restoration of peace.
3. “But a British Underwriter is not forbidden by law to pay the subject of the Foreign Power in time of war for a loss which has occurred either during or before the war, if he thinks fit to do so; nor does he commit any legal offence or render himself liable to any legal penalty by so doing. In the case of a loss sustained by a subject of the Foreign Power before declaration of war, it rests entirely with the British Underwriter to decide for himself whether he will claim suspension of legal proceedings until restoration of peace; and if he does not expressly claim this suspension in answer to an action brought against him, the Courts will proceed with the trial of the action during and notwithstanding the war.'
I am advised that the origin of the law as enunciated is to be found in the strict decisions given in the English Courts during the Napoleonic Wars, and, although these questions have not been directly brought forward in recent years, it is already evident that the tendency of the British Courts is against the strict enforcement of the rules laid down at a time when the conditions of international commerce, including marine insurance, were on a very different footing from those existing at the present time.
As Chairman of Lloyd's, I desire to make the following statements:
First, I am advised that the records contain no case in which the British Underwriters have resisted a claim on a Marine Policy for a loss by perils of the sea on any of the grounds referred to in the opinion which I have already read.
Secondly, my attention has been drawn to a recent article in the Foreign Press in which it is stated that the English Underwriters are not only not bound by law to pay compensation to the subjects of Enemy State (sic) for losses which arise during the war, even when the Policy was concluded before the commencement of war, but that the payment is actually illegal. This statement is an inaccurate reproduction of the answer of the British Maritime Committee to the questionnaire, and is misleading. It is contrary to the opinion I have already read, which states unequivocally that 'a British Underwriter is not forbidden to pay the subject of a1 Foreign Power in time of war for a loss which has occurred either during or before the war’; and, moreover, it entirely disregards the fact indicated in the answer to the questionnaire that the Crown has an inherent right to permit business with an alien enemy. It has been pointed out in the interesting answer to the questionnaire prepared for the Dutch Association by Mr Loder that 'laws are made in vain if they contravene the ideas of good faith and the sentiment of whatever is honest and of good report.'
The position which the English Underwriters have assumed, 1 This is an error and should be 'the,' meaning, as a glance at paragraph 1 above shows, 'the enemy Power.'
and which they have expressed their intention of continuing to hold, is that no contract of marine insurance will be repudiated by them on the ground that it covers enemy goods, but that all such contracts will be faithfully carried out during war as in time of peace, and I may say further for myself that the position taken up by the English Underwriters is, in my opinion, the only one consistent with honesty and good faith.
(A Table of Cases is printed on pp. xi-xiv)
place, 63-69; effect of, 69, 81 tween Allied and Enemy resi-
dents, 73–74; between British
and Enemy residents, 60–73;
upon, 20; exclusion and expul residents, 73–74; discharge, see
Abrogation of Contract; disso-
personal and territorial tests of, tract; effect of war on, general
Coronation Seat cases, 80–81
of, 26-58; early history of, 26-
Discharge of Contract, see Abroga-
Dissolution of Contract, see Abroga-
tracts between allied and enemy Domicile, definition of, 2; enemy
commercial, effect of having,
etc., effect of, 77, 87-98, 160-
86, 108; clause in marine in-
surance policy, 143-145
Habeas Corpus, Writ of, alien ene-
my's claim to, 39, 53-54
war upon shareholder's contract Impossibility of performance of con-
enemy character of, 117-125 Insurance, marine, 135-148; of
gation of Contract; between Interest, runningofduring war,61-63