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alone, without the knowledge of the owners and contrary to their intentions, the policy was not vitiated by the illegal carriage of passengers (x).
The law of England does not take cognizance of the revenue laws of foreign countries in the same way that it does of our own, so as to regard any contravention of them by British subjects as illegal ; and consequently a policy of insurance upon an adventure prohibited by the fiscal regulations of a foreign state will not be held invalid by our Courts (y).
There are risks which it is illegal to insure, not because they are at variance with the permanent law of the land, but because they are opposed to public policy, especially in time of war. Such, for example, are insurances effected on behalf of alien enemies, or to cover trading adventures to an enemy's port, which in both cases are wholly void and inoperative (~). The case is different with respect to insurances effected upon the property of neutrals against war risks, which are not invalid in the neutral country, though the adventure to which they attach may be liable to capture by a belligerent. For instance, in the event of a port being blockaded, a trading adventure by neutrals to run the blockade, though liable to confiscation under the laws of war, is not illegal, and may therefore be made the subject of a valid insurance in the neutral country (a). As, however, the ordinary risk is much enhanced by such an enterprise, the intention of the assured must be disclosed to the underwriter at the time when the insurance is effected, otherwise the policy will be void on the ground of concealment.
In time of maritime war, it is often necessary that a vessel should be provided with documents to prove her neutrality, should it be called in question by a belligerent; and, accordingly, it is an implied condition of the policy that the vessel shall be furnished with all such papers as are required either by the law of nations or by international treaties (b). The
(2) Dudgeon v. Pembroke, 2 Asp. Mar. L. C. 323.
(y) Lever' v. Fletcher, Park on In. surance, p. 269.
(a) Ibid., 650. (6) Ibid., 619.
failure to have on board documents of this nature, if it be a ground of the condemnation of the ship, will discharge the underwriter from liability to the assured, if the latter be the shipowner, though it will not extend to the forfeiture of the rights of other parties, such as owners of cargo, who are not in any degree responsible for the omission (c).
VI.-SLIPS AND COVERING NOTES. A slip is, as already explained (d), a brief memorandum of the chief particulars of the risk, which, according to the practice at Lloyd's, is placed before the underwriters when the risk is offered, and initialed by them, if approved, for the sums which they respectively agree to insure. A covering note is a more formal document than a slip, and is usually issued by insurance companies, or other underwriting bodies, when the risk is taken, as an interim policy, pending the execution of the stamped document.
The slip and covering note, being unstamped, are alike devoid of legal validity, under the statute 30 Vict., c. 23, ss. 7 and 9, which provides that “no contract or agreement for sea insurance shall be valid, unless expressed in a policy," and that “no policy shall be pleaded or given in evidence in any court to be good or available in law or in equity, unless duly stamped.” It follows from these enactments that, neither a slip nor a covering note will constitute a contract enforceable in any court of law or equity, nor will any endeavour to evade the operation of the Stamp Acts be sanctioned (e). Thus, in an action upon a covering note (f), it was agreed that for the purpose of the case it should be taken as if there were a duly stamped policy ; but the Court ordered the case to be struck out, on the ground that they could not hear it without sanctioning what amounted to an evasion of the stamp laws, Baron Martin observing, “ If
(c) Ibid., 623.
Mar. L. C., v. 1, p. 397.
(f) Nixon v. Albion Marine Insurance Co., L. R. 2 Ex. 338.
we can see that the provisions of the statutes relating to the stamping of policies and contracts of insurance have been violated, we are bound by our oaths as judges to protect the revenue by refusing to let that be made available which the legislature has expressly said shall not be available.”
The holder of a slip, who is unable to obtain a policy, will obtain no assistance in Chancery to enable him to compel the underwriters who have initialed a slip to execute a stamped policy (y). An insurance company, whose agent has initialed a slip on their behalf, but who subsequently refuse to execute a stamped policy, will not be liable in damages on account of their failure to issue such a policy, even though the premium and stamp duty have been received by the agent (h).
The slip, though invalid both in law and equity is, nevertheless, in practice, and according to the usage of those engaged in marine insurance, a complete and final contract, binding upon the parties in honour and good faith (i); consequently, the assured is under no obligation to communicate to the underwriters a material fact which has come to his knowledge subsequently to the initialing of the slip (k); and, it makes no difference that, the insurance being negotiated by an agent of the assured, the slip was initialed subject to the ratification of the assured (1). Although no unstamped agreement to insure can be made the foundation of legal proceedings in any form ; yet, where a valid contract exists, the slip may be given in evidence to prove the intentions of the parties (m).
It was formerly provided by the Revenue Acts that no policy (n) could be stamped after it was signed or underwritten by any person ; but, by a later enactment (o), this prohibition has been relaxed, and a policy may now, for the purpose of