Norris v Chambres: 1862

A company director had advanced part of a loan for the purchase of a mine in Prussia. He died, and because of lack of funds, his estate risked losing everything. His estate sought its recovery.
Held: ‘With respect to this advance, I think that, upon the authority of Penn v. Lord Baltimore, which has often been acted upon, the Plaintiff would have been entitled to succeed if he could have proved that the claim for a declaration of the proposed charge or lien on the Maria Anna mine was founded on any contract or privity between him or the deceased [director] and the Defendants, the purchasers of the mine, and if there had not been a suit in the Prussian Courts, in which the same question was raised and had been decided in the Plaintiff’s favour. But I agree in thinking with the Master of the Rolls that the Plaintiff has failed to shew any such contract or privity. Upon the evidence adduced the purchasers of the mine, whom he sues, are to be considered as mere strangers, and any notice which they may have had of the transactions between [the deceased director] and [the old company] (which has now ceased to exist) cannot give this Court jurisdiction to declare the proposed lien or charge on lands in a foreign country. An English Court ought not to pronounce a decree, even in personam, which can have no specific operation without the intervention of a foreign Court, and which in the country where the lands to be charged by it lie would probably be treated as a brutum fulmen. I do not think that the Court of Chancery would give effect to a charge on land in the county of Middlesex so created by a Prussian Court sitting as Dusseldorf or Cologne. But another objection is lis alibi pendens, a suit pending before the proper tribunal in Prussia, and that by this tribunal, a decree has actually been pronounced in favour of the Plaintiff, giving him what he seeks . . We must suppose that the Court at Dusseldorf has ample means to enforce the whole of its decree, and that the Plaintiff will have the full benefit of that decree, which may be considered as creating a debt for which the opposite parties are personally liable and a charge upon the property sold.’


Lord Campbell LC


(1862) 3 De G.F. and J. 583


England and Wales


Appeal fromNorris v Chambres 1861
A company director had committed suicide; the claim was brought by his estate. The company had been established in England to work a Prussian coal mine, and the director had personally advanced a large sum towards its purchase. The company agreed to . .
CitedPenn v Lord Baltimore 1750
The court compelled Lord Baltimore to comply with the obligations he had assumed to the Penn family, by setting the Mason-Dixon line, demarcating boundaries between the privately-owned territories of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware, and . .

Cited by:

CitedR Griggs Group Ltd and others v Evans and others (No 2) ChD 12-May-2004
A logo had been created for the claimants, by an independent sub-contractor. They sought assignment of their legal title, but, knowing of the claimant’s interest the copyright was assigned to a third party out of the jurisdiction. The claimant . .
CitedDeschamps v Miller 1908
The parties disputed land in India. A French couple, had married in France in community of property. So according to the French marriage contract the wife was supposed to be entitled to one half of the husband’s after-acquired property. The husband . .
ExplainedMacmillan Inc v Bishopsgate Investment Trust Plc and Others (No 3) ChD 1-Jul-1993
Bona fide chargees for value of shares situated in New York and held on trust for Macmillan were able, by application of New York law, to take the shares free of Macmillan’s prior equitable interest of which the chargees had had no notice. Where . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Equity, Jurisdiction

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.199520