Cope v Doherty: 1858

Owners of an American ship which had collided with and sunk another American ship applied to limit their liability pursuant to section 504 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1854.
Held: The section did not apply to collisions between foreigners. When the owners argued that the limitation rule was procedural and should therefore be applied as part of the lex fori. I should have thought that the short answer was that whether the rule was substantive or procedural, Parliament had said that it should not apply to foreigners and that was the end of the matter: ‘Clearly an Act, which limits the damage to which the ship owner is to be liable under circumstances like the present, deals with the substance and not the form of the procedure. It in effect forms a contract that, whereas by the natural law the owner of the ship or property that has been injured would be entitled to damages to the full extent of the loss he has sustained, all those persons upon whom the Legislature can impose such a contract, that is to say, all its own subjects, shall forego that which the natural law – the common law, as we should call it in England – would give them, and shall be entitled only to the amount of the value of the ship by which the injury has been inflicted, and of the freight due or to grow due in respect of such ship during the voyage.’
Wood VC
(1858) 4 K and J 369
Merchant Shipping Act 1854 504
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromCope v Doherty CA 2-Jan-1858
Turner LJ: ‘An attempt was made on the part of the appellants to bring this case within Don v Lippman and cases of that class, but I think those cases have no bearing upon the point. This is a question of liability, and not of procedure.’ . .
CitedHarding v Wealands CA 17-Dec-2004
The claimant sought damages here for a road traffic accident which had occurred in Australia. The defendant was working in England. The defendant argued that the law of New South Wales applied.
Held: The general rule in section 11 was not to . .
CitedHarding v Wealands HL 5-Jul-2006
Claim in UK for Accident in Australia
The claimant had been a passenger in a car driven by his now partner. They had an accident in New South Wales. The car was insured in Australia. He sought leave to sue in England and Wales because Australian law would limit the damages.
Held: . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 May 2021; Ref: scu.222525