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26° & 27° Victoriae, cap. XXXIV

An Act to facilitate the Appointment of Vice Admirals and of Officers in Vice Admiralty Courts in Her Majesty's Possessions abroad, and to confirm the past Proceedings, to extend the Jurisdiction, and to amend the Practice of those Courts.

 

[8th June 1863.]

  'WHERAS it is expedient to facilitate the Appointment of Vice Admirals and of Officers in Vice Admiralty Courts in Her Majesty's Possessions abroad, and to confirm the past Proceedings, to extend the Jurisdiction, and to amend the Practice of those Courts:' Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, as follows:
Short Title. 1. This Act may be cited for all Purposes as the "Vice Admiralty Courts Act, 1863."
Interpretation of Terms. 2. In the Interpretation and for the Purposes of this Act (if not inconsistent with the Context or Subject Matter) the following Terms shall have the respective Meanings herein-after assigned to them; that is to say,
"Her Majesty" shall mean Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors:
The "Admiralty" shall mean the Lord High Admiral or the Commissioners for executing his Office:
"British Possession" shall mean any Colony, Plantation, Settlement, Island, or Territory being a Part of Her Majesty's Dominions, but not being within the Limits of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or of Her Majesty's Possessions in India:
"Governor" shall mean the Officer for the Time being lawfully administering the Government of any British Possession:
"Vice Admiralty Court" shall mean any of the existing Vice Admiralty Courts enumerated in the Schedule marked A. hereto annexed, or any Vice Admiralty Court which shall hereafter be established in any British Possession:
"Ship" shall include every Description of Vessel used in Navigation not propelled by Oars only, whether British or Foreign:
"Cause" shall include any Cause, Suit, Action, or other Proceeding instituted in any Vice Admiralty Court.
Appointment of Vice Admiral. 3. In any British Possession, where the Office of Vice Admiral is now or shall at any Time hereafter become vacant, the Governor of such Possession shall be ex officio Vice Admiral thereof, until a Notification is received in the Possession that a formal Appointment to that Office has been made by the Admiralty in the Manner herein-after mentioned.
Appointment of Judge. 4. In any British Possession, where the Office of Judge of a Vice Admiralty Court is now or shall at any Time hereafter become vacant, the Chief Justice, or the Principal Judicial Officer, of such Possession, or the Person for the Time being lawfully authorized to act as such, shall be ex officio Judge of the Vice Admiralty Court, until a Notification is received in the Possession that a formal Appointment to that Office has been made by the Admiralty in the Manner herein-after mentioned.
Appointment of Registrar and Marshal. 5. In any British Possession, where the Office of Registrar or Marshal of any Vice Admiralty Court is now or shall at any Time hereafter become vacant, the Judge of the Court may, with the Approval of the Governor, appoint some Person to the vacant Office, until a Notification is received in the Possession that a formal Appointment thereto has been made by the Admiralty in the Manner herein-after mentioned, and may, for good and reasonable Cause, to be approved by the Governor, remove the Person so appointed. The Judge may also appoint some Person to act as Registrar or Marshal during the temporary Absence of either of those Officers.
Names of Appointees, &c. to be notified to the Home Government. 6. On any Vacancy in the Office of Judge, Registrar, or Marshal of any Vice Admiralty Court, the Governor of the British Possession in which the Court is established shall, as soon as is practicable, communicate to One of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State the Fact of the Vacancy, and the Name of the Person succeeding or appointed to the vacant Office.
Saving the Powers of the Admiralty. 7. Nothing in this Act contained shall be taken to affect the Power of the Admiralty to appoint any Vice Admiral, or any Judge, Registrar, Marshal, or other Officer of any Vice Admiralty Court, as heretofore, by Warrant from the Admiralty, and by Letters Patent issued under Seal of the High Court of Admiralty of England.
Past Proceedings confirmed. 8. No Act done by any Person in the Capacity of Judge, Registrar, or Marshal of any Vice Admiralty Court, which shall not have been set aside by any competent Authority before the passing of this Act, shall be held invalid by reason that such Person had not been duly appointed, but all such Acts shall be as valid and effectual as if done by a Person duly appointed.
Protection of Officers. 9. No Action, Prosecution, or other Proceeding shall be brought against any such Person by reason of the Illegality or Informality of any Act hereby declared to be valid and effectual.
Jurisdiction of Vice Admiralty Courts. 10. The Matters in respect of which the Vice Admiralty Courts shall have Jurisdiction are as follow:
(1.)Claims for Seamen's Wages:
(2.)Claims for Master's Wages, and for his Disbursements on account of the Ship:
(3.)Claims in respect of Pilotage:
(4.)Claims in respect of Salvage of any Ship, or of Life or Goods therefrom:
(5.)Claims in respect of Towage:
(6.)Claims for Damage done by any Ship:
(7.)Claims in respect of Bottomry or Respondentia Bonds:
(8.)Claims in respect of any Mortgage where the Ship has been sold by a Decree of the Vice Admiralty Court, and the Proceeds are under its Control:
(9.)Claims between the Owners of any Ship registered, in the Possession in which the Court is established, touching the Ownership, Possession, Employment, or Earnings of such Ship:
(10.)Claims for Necessaries supplied, in the Possession in which the Court is established, to any Ship of which no Owner or Part Owner is domiciled within the Possession at the Time of the Necessaries being supplied:
(11.)Claims in respect of the building, equipping, or repairing within any British Possession of any Ship of which no Owner or Part Owner is domiciled within the Possession at the Time of the Work being done.
Jurisdiction of Vice Admiralty Courts. 11. The Vice Admiralty Courts shall also have Jurisdiction -
(1.)In all Cases of Breach of the Regulations and Instructions relating to Her Majesty's Navy at Sea:
(2.)In all Matters arising out of Droits of Admiralty.
Nothing to restrict existing Jurisdictions. 12. Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to take away or restrict the Jurisdiction conferred upon any Vice Admiralty Court by any Act of Parliament in respect of Seizures for Breach of the Revenue, Customs, Trade, or Navigation Laws, or of the Laws relating to the Abolition of the Slave Trade, or to the Capture and Destruction of Pirates and Piratical Vessels, or any other Jurisdiction now lawfully exercised by any such Court; or any Jurisdiction now lawfully exercised by any other Court within Her Majesty's Dominions.
As to Matters arising beyond Limits of Colony. 13. The Jurisdiction of the Vice Admiralty Courts, except where it is expressly confined by this Act to Matters arising within the Possession in which the Court is established may be exercised, whether the Cause or Right of Action has arisen within or beyond the Limits of such Possession.
Her Majesty empowered to establish and alter Rules and Tables of Fees. 14. Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, from Time to Time establish Rules touching the Practice to be observed in the Vice Admiralty Courts, as also Tables of the Fees to be taken by the Officers and Practitioners thereof for all Acts to be done therein, and may repeal and alter the existing and all future Rules and Tables of Fees, and establish new Rules and Tables of Fees in addition thereto, or in lieu thereof.
Rules and Tables of Fees to be laid before the House of Commons. 15. A copy of any Rules or Tables of Fees which may at any Time be established shall be laid before the House of Commons within Three Months from the establishing thereof, or if Parliament shall not be then sitting, or if the Session shall terminate within One Month from that Date, then within One Month after the Commencement of the next Session.
To be entered in the Records of the Courts. 16. The Rules and Tables of Fees in force in any Vice Admiralty Court shall, as soon as possible after they have been received in the British Possession in which the Court is established, be entered by the Registrar in the public Books or Records of the Court, and the Books or Records in which they are so entered shall at all reasonable Times be open to the Inspection of the Practitioners and Suitors in the Court.
To be hung up in Court, &c. 17. A Copy of the Rules and Tables of Fees in force in any Vice Admiralty Court shall be kept constantly hung up in some conspicuous Place as well in the Court as in the Office of the Registrar.
Established Fees to be the only Fees taken. 18. The Fees established for any Vice Admiralty Court shall, after the Date fixed for them to come into Operation, be the only Fees which shall be taken by the Officers and Practitioners of the Court.
Taxation may be revised by the High Court of Admiralty. 19. Any Person who shall feel himself aggrieved by the Charges of any of the Practitioners in any Vice Admiralty Court, or by the Taxation thereof by the Officers of the Court, may apply to the High Court of Admiralty of England to have the Charges taxed, or the Taxation thereof revised.
Registrar may administer Oaths. 20. The Registrar of any Vice Admiralty Court shall have Power to administer Oaths in relation to any Matter depending in the Court; and any Person who shall wilfully swear falsely in any Proceeding before the Registrar, or before any other Person authorized to administer Oaths in the Court, shall be deemed guilty of Perjury, and shall be liable to all the Penalties attaching to wilful and corrupt Perjury.
As to the Hearing of Cross Causes. 21. If a Cause of Damage by Collision be instituted in any Vice Admiralty Court, and the Defendant institute a Cross Cause in respect of the same Collision, the Judge may, on Application of either Party, direct both Causes to be heard at the same Time and on the same Evidence; and if the Ship of the Defendant in one of the Causes has been arrested, or Security given by him to answer Judgment, but the Ship of the Defendant in the other Cause cannot be arrested, and Security has not been given to answer Judgment therein, the Court may, if it think fit, suspend the Proceedings in the former Cause until Security has been given to answer Judgment in the latter Cause.
No Appeal save from final Sentence or Order. 22. The Appeal from a Decree or Order of a Vice Admiralty Court lies to Her Majesty in Council; but no Appeal shall be allowed, save by Permission of the Judge, from any Decree or Order not having the Force or Effect of a definitive Sentence or final Order.
Appeal to be made within Six Months. 23. The Time for appealing from any Decree or Order of a Vice Admiralty Court shall, notwithstanding any existing Enactment to the contrary, be limited to Six Months from the Date of the Decree or Order appealed from; and no Appeal shall be allowed where the Petition of Appeal to Her Majesty shall not have been lodged in the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty and of Appeals within that Time, unless Her Majesty in Council shall, on the Report and Recommendation of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, be pleased to allow the Appeal to be prosecuted, notwithstanding that the Petition of Appeal has not been lodged within the Time prescribed.
Acts repealed. Saving Rules established under 2 & 3 W. 4. c. 51. 24. The Acts enumerated in the Schedule hereto annexed marked B. are hereby repealed, to the Extent therein mentioned, but the Repeal thereof shall not affect the Validity of any Rules, Orders, Regulations, or Tables of Fees heretofore established and now in force, in pursuance of the Act of the Second and Third William the Fourth, Chapter Fifty-one; but such Rules, Orders, Regulations, and Tables of Fees shall continue in force until repealed or altered under the Provisions of this Act.
 

SCHEDULE A.

List of the existing Vice Admiralty Courts to which this Act applies.

Antigua.
Bahamas.
Barbadoes.
Bermuda.
British Columbia.
British Guiana.
British Honduras.
Cape of Good Hope.
Ceylon.
Dominica.
Falkland Islands.
Gambia River.
Gibraltar.
Gold Coast.
Grenada.
Hong Kong.
Jamaica.
Labuan.
Lagos.
Lower Canada, otherwise Quebec.
Malta.
Mauritius.
Montserrat.
Natal.
Nevis.
New Brunswick.
Newfoundland.
New South Wales.
New Zealand.
Nova Scotia, otherwise Halifax.
Prince Edward Island.
Queensland.
Saint Christopher.
Saint Helena.
Saint Lucia.
Saint Vincent.
Sierra Leone.
South Australia.
Tasmania, formerly called Van Diemen's Land.
Tobago.
Trinidad.
Vancouver's Island.
Victoria.
Virgin Islands, otherwise Tortola.
Western Australia.
 

SCHEDULE B.

ACTS AND PARTS OF ACTS REPEALED.

Reference to Act. Extent of Repeal. Title of Act.
56 Geo. III. c. 82. An Act to render valid the Judicial Acts of Surrogates of Vice Admiralty Courts abroad, during Vacancies in Office of Judges of such Courts. The whole Act, save as regards Her Majesty's Possessions in India.
5 Geo. IV. c. 113. An Act to amend and consolidate the Laws relating to the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Section 29, save as above.
2 & 3 Will. IV. c. 51. An Act to regulate the Practice and the Fees in the Vice Admiralty Courts abroad, and to obviate Doubts as to their Jurisdiction. The whole Act, save as above.
6 & 7 Vict. c. 38. An Act to make further Regulations for facilitating the hearing Appeals and other Matters by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Section 11, so far as it relates to Appeals from Vice Admiralty Courts, save as above.
17 & 18 Vict. c. 37. An Act for establishing the Validity of certain Proceedings in Her Majesty's Court of Vice Admiralty in Mauritius. The whole Act.

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