West Rand Central Gold Mining Company v Rex: 1905

The court considered whether international law could form part of the criminal law of England
Lord Alverstone CJ said: ‘The second proposition urged by Lord Robert Cecil, that international law forms part of the law of England, requires a word of explanation and comment. It is quite true that whatever has received the common consent of civilised nations must have received the assent of our country, and that to which we have assented along with other nations in general may properly be called international law, and as such will be acknowledged and applied by our municipal tribunals when legitimate occasion arises for those tribunals to try questions to which doctrines of international law may be relevant. But any doctrines there invoked must be ones really accepted as binding between nations, and the international law sought to be applied, must, like anything else, be proved by satisfactory evidence, which must show either that the particular proposition put forward has been recognised and acted upon by our own country, or that it is of such a nature and has been so widely and generally accepted, that it can hardly be supposed that any civilised state would repudiate it.’


Lord Alverstone CJ


[1905] 2 KB 391

Cited by:

CitedJones and Milling, Olditch and Pritchard, and Richards v Gloucestershire Crown Prosecution Service CACD 21-Jul-2004
The court considered the extent to which the defendants in the proceedings can rely on their beliefs as to the unlawfulness of the United Kingdom’s actions in preparing for, declaring, and waging war in Iraq in 2003 in a defence to a charge of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.200230