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20 Brit. Y.B. Int'l L. 83 (1939)

handle is hein.journals/byrint20 and id is 87 raw text is: THE JURIDICAL BASIS OF HOT PURSUIT

By GLANVILLE L. WILLIAMS, Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge
THE incentive to writing this paper came from an inquiry into
the ancient common-law doctrine of fresh pursuit. As it seems
to me, this doctrine is not without a lesson for the international
lawyer. For one thing it presents some interesting affinities with
his own rule of hot pursuit. But much more important than
this similarity of detail is the broad juridical basis on which it is
rested, which invites the question whether there is any such
comprehensive theory in international law. What I propose to
do, therefore, is to make a comparative study of the two rules. I
shall first state the English theory as briefly as possible, and then
assess the extent to which international law is reaching or may
reach the same result.
Before embarking on this, however, it may be well to say at
once that the juridical basis of fresh pursuit , to which reference
has just been made, involves something of a fiction. It pretends
that an act occurred at one place although in fact it occurred at
another. Such a rule immediately recalls two other fictions of a
similar nature that are already established in international law.
The first is now a commonplace; it is the rule, recognized in
England for several centuries, that an act is deemed to be com-
mitted not only where the physical movements occur but also
where the consequences take effect.' Perhaps, after all, this is
not so much a fiction as an extended definition of the term act,
but, however analysed, it seems to work well in questions of juris-
diction and was approved by a majority of the Permanent Court
in the case of the s.s. Lotus. The other is the fiction of construc-
tive presence, which is applied where a vessel, lying outside the
limit of territorial waters, makes contact with a spot within this
limit by means of her own small boats (or, according to the courts
of the United States, by means of boats sent out from the shore
under her control). According to the preponderance of authority
1 A few dates may be of interest. (1) In the law of venue the rule goes back at least
to Anon. (1593/4), 1 Dyer 50b, n., 73 E.R. 111; for the full rules see Halsbury's Laws
of England, 2nd ed., pp. 66-70. (2) It was applied to the jurisdiction of the Court of
Admiralty in R. v. Coombes (1786), 1 Leach 388, 168 E.R. 296, 1 East P.C. 367. (3) Its
appearance in extradition cases is more recent; apparently the earliest example is R. v.
Jacobi and Hiller (1881), 46 L.T. 595 n. For other authorities see Beckett, British Year
Book of International Law, 1925, p. 44, and 1927, p. 108.

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