1906

Mortensen v Peters Court of Justiciary. Scotland

Scotland issued a law making it an offence to fish in the Moray Firth, the appellant was a Dane, master of a Norwegian ship, convicted by a Scottish court for fishing in the Moray Firth but in a place beyond the three-mile limit. The appellant advanced that the statute must be presumed to apply only 1. To British subjects 2. To foreign subjects in British territory The appeal against conviction was dismissed

Lord Justice General: We [are not] a tribunal sitting to decide whether an Act of the Legislature is ultra vires as in contravention of generally acknowledged principles of IL For us an Act of Parliament is supreme, and we are bound to give effects to its terms The locus delicti, although outside the three-mile limit, is within the bay known as Moray Firth, and Moray Firth is intra fauces terrae. There are many instances to be found in decided cases where the right of a nation to legislate for waters more or less landlocked to land-embraced, although beyond the three-mile limit, has been admitted. Lord Kyllachy: there is always a certain presumption against the legislature of a country asserting or assuming the existence of a territorial jurisdiction going clearly beyond limits established by the common consent of nations, but then it is only a presumption