Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date

1919

Abstract

It is said that as a general rule an enemy alien cannot bring an action in the English courts. "And true it is, that an Alien enemie, shall maintaine neither reall nor personall action, Donec terrae fuet' communes, that is untill both Nations be in peace." COKE oN LITTLETON, (2 ed.) L. 2, c. 11, sec. 198. LORD STOWELL'S famous dictum in The Hoop (1799), 1 C. Rob. 196, 200, is regarded as a classical statement of the doctrine: "In the law of almost every country, the character of alien enemy carries with it a disability to sue, or to sustain in the language of the civilians a persona standi in judicio. The peculiar law of our own country applies this principle with great rigour.-The same principle is received in our courts of the law of nations; they are so far British courts, that no man can sue therein who is a subject of the enemy, unless under particular circumstances that pro hac vice discharge him from the character of an enemy; such as his coming under a flag of truce, a cartel, a pass, or some other act of public authority that puts him in the King's peace pro hac vice." Perhaps the most useful recent discussion of the law on this question is to be found in the opinion of LORD CHIEF JUSTICE READING in Porter v. Freudenberg [1915, 1 K. B. 857, 866. There is an exhaustive review of the authorities in Rodriguez v. Speyer Brothers (1918), 88 L. J. K. B. 147, discussed infra. See also 16 MICH. L. REV. 621. For a comparative study of the law and practice of different countries, see GARNER, "TREATMENT OF ENEMY ALIENS," 13 AM. JOUR. OF INT. LAW 22-59.


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