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Foreign Enlistment Act 1870

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23 Special power of Secretary of State or chief executive authority to detain ship.E+W+S+N.I.

If the Secretary of State [F1or the chief executive authority] is satisfied that there is a reasonable and probable cause for believing that a ship within Her Majesty’s dominions has been or is being built, commissioned, or equipped contrary to this Act, and is about to be taken beyond the limits of such dominions, or that a ship is about to be despatched contrary to this Act, such Secretary of State [F1or chief executive authority] shall have power to issue a warrant stating that there is reasonable and probable cause for believing as aforesaid, and upon such warrant the local authority shall have power to seize and search such ship, and to detain the same until it has been either condemned or released by process of law, or in manner herein-after mentioned.

The owner of the ship so detained, or his agent, may apply to the Court of Admiralty for its release, and the court shall as soon as possible put the matter of such seizure and detention in course of trial between the applicant and the Crown.

If the applicant establish to the satisfaction of the court that the ship was not and is not being built, commissioned, or equipped, or intended to be despatched contrary to this Act, the ship shall be released and restored.

If the applicant fail to establish to the satisfaction of the court that the ship was not and is not being built, commissioned, or equipped, or intended to be despatched contrary to this Act, then the ship shall be detained till released by order of the Secretary of State [F1or chief executive authority].

The court may in cases where no proceedings are pending for its condemnation release any ship detained under this section on the owner giving security to the satisfaction of the court that the ship shall not be employed contrary to this Act, notwithstanding that the applicant may have failed to establish to the satisfaction of the court that the ship was not and is not being built, commissioned, or intended to be despatched contrary to this Act. The Secretary of State [F1or the chief executive authority] may likewise release any ship detained under this section on the owner giving security to the satisfaction of such Secretary of State [F1or chief executive authority] that the ship shall not be employed contrary to this Act, or may release the ship without such security if the Secretary of State [F1or chief executive authority] think fit so to release the same.

If the court be of opinion that there was not reasonable and probable cause for the detention, and if no such cause appear in the course of the proceedings, the court shall have power to declare that the owner is to be indemnified by the payment of costs and damages in respect of the detention, the amount thereof to be assessed by the court, and any amount so assessed shall be payable by the Treasury out of any moneys legally applicable for that purpose. The Court of Admiralty shall also have power to make a like order for the indemnity of the owner, on the application of such owner to the court, in a summary way, in cases where the ship is released by the order of the Secretary of State [F1or the chief executive authority], before any application is made by the owner or his agent to the court for such release.

Nothing in this section contained shall affect any proceedings instituted or to be instituted for the condemnation of any ship detained under this section where such ship is liable to forfeiture, subject to this provision, that if such ship is restored in pursuance of this section all proceedings for such condemnation shall be stayed; and where the court declares that the owner is to be indemnified by the payment of costs and damages for the detainer, all costs, charges, and expenses incurred by such owner in or about any proceedings for the condemnation of such ship shall be added to the costs and damages payable to him in respect of the detention of the ship.

Nothing in this section contained shall apply to any foreign non-commissioned ship despatched from any part of Her Majesty’s dominions after having come within them under stress of weather or in the course of a peaceful voyage, and upon which ship no fitting out or equipping of a warlike character has taken place in this country.

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