Document Type



Transfer of Flag and the Declaration of London, 23 Columbia Law Review 338 (1923)


It happens not infrequently when international legal conventions, designed to harmonize or recodify conflicting rules of law, are drafted, that the resulting convention is so broad or indefinite that confusion rather than agreement is effected, each party reading into the convention its own preconceptions. This was neither the purpose nor the necessary result of those articles of the Declaration of London, 55 and 56, which deal with the transfer of flag; yet in two important prize cases in which article 56 was applied, the prize courts of France and England came to diametrically opposite conclusions as to the meaning of the article, each interpreting the convention in the light of its own pre - existing law. It must be admitted that the section which particularly required interpretation in these cases was not so clear as it might have been. It reads: "The transfer of an enemy vessel to a neutral flag effected after the outbreak of hostilities, is void unless it is proved that such transfer was not made in order to evade the consequences to which an enemy vessel, as such, is exposed."

Date of Authorship for this Version



maritime law, London Naval Conference