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Jesse Lewis (The David J. Adams) Claim (United States v. Great Britain)

Claims Arbitration under the Special Agreement of August 18, 1919, 1921, Nielsen Rep. 526
6 U.N. Rep. Int’l Arb. Awards 85


Under the Treaty of London of 1818, the United States (plaintiff) gave up the right of its citizens to fish in Canadian waters. An exception to this rule permitted American fishermen to enter Canadian bays and harbors “for the purpose of shelter and of repairing damages therein, or purchasing wood, and of obtaining water, and for no other purpose whatever.” In 1886, The David J. Adams, an American fishing boat, entered Canadian waters to purchase fresh bait and was seized by Canadian authorities for allegedly violating the Treaty of 1818 and other Canadian legislation. A Canadian court condemned the ship for violating the treaty and legislation. The United States, on behalf of the ship’s owner, sought damages from Great Britain (defendant) on the ground that the seizure and condemnation of the ship were wrongful because they were based on an erroneous interpretation of the Treaty of 1818. The case was submitted to the Arbitral Tribunal. The British government argued that the Arbitral Tribunal was not competent to re-examine the Canadian court’s interpretation of the application of the Treaty.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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