Orr v Dickinson

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date01 January 1858
Date01 January 1858
CourtHigh Court of Chancery

English Reports Citation: 70 E.R. 315



S. C. 28 L. J. Ch. 516; 5 Jur. (N. S.) 672. See Michael v. Fripp, 1868, L. R. 7 Eq. 99.

Merchant Shipping Act, 1854. 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104. 18 & 19 Vict. c. 91, s. 10 Certificate of Sale. Invalid Bill of Sale. Registry of. Equitable Interest in a Ship. Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, s. 65. Injunction.

Reports of CASES ADJUDGED in the HIGH COURT OF CHANCERY before Sir WILLIAM PAGE WOOD, Knt, Vice-chancellor. By HENRY ROBERT VAUGHAN JOHNSON, of Lincoln's Inn, Esqr., Barrister-at-Law. 1858, 1859, 1860- 21 & 22, 22 & 23, 23 & 24 Yict. 1860. [1] ore v. dickinson. March 13, June 22, 1858; Jan. 18, 20, 1859. [S. C. 28 L. J. Ch. 516; 5 Jur. (N. S.) 672. See Michael v. Fripp, 1868, L. K. 7 Eq. 99.] Merchant Shipping Act, 1854. 17 & 18 Fict. c. 104. 18 & 19 Fict. c. 91, s. 10. Certificate, of Sale. Invalid Bill of Sale. Registry of. Equitable Interest in a Ship. Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, s. 65. Injunction. Under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, the registry of a bill of sale, which, though purporting to be valid, so that the registrar has no alternative but to register it, is in fact invalid, gives no title, even at law, to the person thereby registered as sole owner of the ship. Therefore, where a bill of sale, though executed by the person named for that purpose by the Plaintiff, the then owner of the ship, and purporting in all other respects to be made in conformity with the certificate of sale, was, in fact, made for less than the minimum price specified in the certificate, and the ship was registered in the name of the purchaser as sole owner: Held, that the registry was void, and, the ship having been sold by arrangement pending the suit, that the Plaintiff was entitled to the net proceeds of the sale. Whether, under the Merchant Shipping Acts of 1854 and 1855, this Court has jurisdiction to interfere with a title acquired at law by the registration of a valid bill of sale of a ship-qumre. The 65th section of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854, does not deprive this Court of its ordinary jurisdiction to protect property during litigation. In the month of August 1857, the Plaintiff, being the sole owner of the brig Polly Hopkins, and registered as such on the registry of ships at the custom house at Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, executed a certificate of sale, granted at that custom house, in the form provided by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854 (17 & 18 Viet. c. 104, s. 79), by [2] which he authorised the Defendant, M'Calman, a partner in the firm of Messrs. Wilson, Brown & Co., of Liverpool, to sell the brig, and declared that the brig should not be sold for a less sum than 1300. (See 17 & 18 Viet. c. 104, s. 77.) Upon the receipt of the certificate of sale, and before the arrival of the brig at Liverpool, Wilson, Brown & Co., being in embarrassed circumstances, made a conditional sale of the brig to the Defendant, Dickinson, for 900, it being agreed that, if they repaid him the 900 by a given day, the ship was to be theirs, otherwise she 315 316 ORB V. DICKINSON JOHNS. 3. was to belong to the Defendant, Dickinson.(l) And on the 8th of September 1857 the Defendant, M'Calman, executed a printed form, purporting to be a bill of sale from the Plaintiff, by his attorney, M'Calman, to the Defendant, Dickinson, transferring to him the brig for 900. The registrar of the custom house at Liverpool having objected to register the bill of sale in consequence of the discrepancy between the amount of the purchase-money and the amount mentioned in the certificate of sale, the amount of the purchase-money (900) was struck out of the bill of sale and 1300 was written in its place. On the 2d of December 1857 the Plaintiff, who had come to England, being informed by Wilson, Brown & Co. that they had been in difficulties, and had " pledged," as they pretended, " the ship's papers," countermanded the authority he had given to M'Calman; and on the 18th of December he executed a revocation of the certificate of sale, in the form prescribed by the Merchant Shipping Act, 1854. [3] The revocation, having been entered at the Liverpool custom house, was transmitted thence to the custom house at Charlotte Town, and, having been recorded there, was returned to the custom house of Liverpool, where it was received on the 25th of January 1858. On the 1st of February 1858 the Plaintiff filed his bill against the Defendants, Dickinson and M'Calman, charging that no bond fide sale of the vessel had ever taken place, and praying that the Defendants might be restrained from dealing with the vessel and detaining her documents, and from causing her to be registered, except for the benefit of the Plaintiff; and that the vessel and her documents might be delivered up to the Plaintiff. Shortly afterwards the Plaintiff obtained, upon an ex parte application, the usual interim injunction, restraining the Defendants from dealing with the ship, and from parting with her documents. March 13, 1858. On the 13th of March, upon motion on behalf of the Plaintiff to continue the injunction, it appeared that, on the 30th of January 1858, being the day before that on which the bill was filed, Dickinson had procured the bill of sale to be registered; and that his name was then on the register at Liverpool as sole owner of the brig. Upon this and other grounds the motion was opposed on behalf of that Defendant; but the Vice-Chancellor was of opinion that, upon the evidence then adduced, there was clearly a question to be tried, whether there had ever been any bond fide sale of the vessel; the Court therefore had power, under the 65th section of the Act (17 & 18 Viet. c. 104), to prevent the Defendant, Dickinson, from making a...

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