Opinion No. 685
CUSTOMS DUTY: PRIZE
WHETHER IMPERIAL LEGISLATION SUBJECTING SHIPS AND GOODS TAKEN AS PRIZE TO CUSTOMS DUTIES HAS APPLICATION IN AUSTRALIA
NAVAL PRIZE ACT 1864 (IMP.), s. 47
01 January 1916
The Comptroller-General of Customs
The Comptroller-General of Customs desires to be advised whether the Minister for Trade and Customs can exercise in Australia the powers conferred on the Commissioners of Customs and Excise of the United Kingdom in relation to the United Kingdom under section 47 of the Naval Prize Act 1864.
Section 47 of the Naval Prize Act 1864 provides as follows:
All ships and goods taken as prize and brought into a port of the United Kingdom shall be liable to and be charged with the same rates and charges and duties of Customs as under any Act relating to the Customs may be chargeable on other ships and goods of the like description; and
All goods brought in as prize which would on the voluntary importation thereof be liable to forfeiture or subject to any restriction under the laws relating to the Customs shall be deemed to be so liable and subject, unless the Commissioners of Customs see fit to authorise the sale or delivery thereof for home use or exportation, unconditionally, or subject to such conditions and regulations as they may direct.
From the wording of this section it is clear that the section only applies to the United Kingdom. There is nothing in the Act to extend the provisions of that section to the Dominions, nor am I aware of any other Act which would have that effect.
In my opinion, the Minister for Trade and Customs is not empowered to exercise in Australia similar powers to those contained in section 47 of the Naval Prize Act 1864.
[Vol. 14, p. 242]
(1)This date is attributed. The opinion is undated in the Opinion Book, but its position, in relation to adjacent opinions, suggests a date towards the end of January I916.
(2)This opinion is unsigned in the Opinion Book, but it is attributed to Mr Garran.