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Luther V. Sagor Notes

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LUTHER V. SAGOR FACTS The action was brought to establish the plaintiff company's right to a quantity of veneer or plywood which had been imported by the defendants from Russia. The plaintiffs' case was that they are a Russian company having a factory or mill at Staraja Russa in Russia for the manufacture of veneer or plywood, and that in the year 1919 the so-called Republican Government of Russia without any right or title to do so seized all the stock at their mill and subsequently purported to sell the quantity in dispute in this action to the defendants. The plaintiffs contended that the socalled Republican Government had no existence as a government, that it had never been recognized by His Majesty's Government, and that the seizure of their goods was pure robbery. As an alternative they contended that the decree of the so-called government nationalizing all factories, as a result of which their goods were seized, is not a decree which the Courts of this country would recognize. HOLDING BANKES LJ It is necessary now to deal with the point made by the respondents, that the decree of confiscation of June, 1918, even if made by the Government which is now recognized by His Majesty's Government as the de facto Government of Russia, is in its nature so immoral, and so contrary to the principles of justice as recognized by this country, that the Courts of this country ought not to pay any attention to it. This is a bold proposition. The question before the Court is not one in which the assistance of the Court is asked to enforce the law of some foreign country to which legitimate objection might be taken, as in Hope v. Hope and Kaufman v. Gerson. The question before the Court is as to the title to goods lying in a foreign country which a subject of that country, being the owner of them by the law of that country, has sold under an f.o.b. contract for export to this country. The Court is asked to ignore the law of the foreign country under which the vendor acquired his title, and to lend its assistance to prevent the purchaser dealing with the goods. I do not think that any authority can be produced to support the contention. Authority appears to negative it. In Santos v. Illidge Blackburn J. says: "Assuming the taking to have been prohibited by a British act, still the taking having been of property locally situated in a foreign country, in a manner lawful according to the laws of that country, I apprehend that the property actually passed by the sale, and vested in the purchasers, though they committed a felony according to our law by taking it.... I apprehend that though the vendees were British subjects the validity of the transfer must on every principle

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