Henry Wheaton could write that "the prize court is a court of the
jurisprudence." (153) But a prize court could not determine the
Prize courts supplied elaborate civil-law procedures to enemy
The archive of prize court
papers of the High Court of Admiralty holds records of dozens of Irish ships captured during periods of war in the eighteenth century.
Secretary of State's office was being inundated with complaints from shipping companies about their vessels and cargo being held up in British ports either awaiting inspection or awaiting the decision of a British Prize Court. For the shipping companies, they were not only losing valuable time due to their ships being impounded by the British, they were also losing money as their cargo sat in the harbor.
complaints, Grey issued a series of notes concerning each of the ships detained in British ports stating that the ships in question and their cargo had been put into prize court so that ship owners could prove the neutral destination of their cargo.
ports from the beginning of the war to the third of January 1915, only eight had been put into Prize Court. (18) Additionally, of a total of nineteen hundred ships intercepted during this time frame, only thirty were even sent to port for further examination.
The prize court at Freetown was to be the place of reckoning.
heard in the Prize Court of Appeals, (109) the case of Le Louis, which
ship Le Louis near Cape Mesurado and brought her to the prize court at
It is also significant that it was argued before the Prize Court on several occasions that these measures were not valid as belligerent action since Egypt did not recognize Israel to be a state, and war--in the technical sense--can only occur between states.(64) By implication, the Prize Court agreed that the sedes materiae of the validity of measures was the existence of a state of war when it held that: "The existence of a state of war or of neutrality in so far as non-belligerents are concerned cannot be discussed by the Court, for it is [its] duty to apply the law without examining its legality."(65) Another, arguably less cogent, argument employed by the Prize Court to reject such objections was modeled on the principle of estoppel.
(60.) See Ahmed Safwat Bey, The Egyptian Prize Court: Organization and Procedure, 5 REVUE EGYPTIENNE DE DROIT INTERNATIONAL [R.E.D.I.] 28 (1949).