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ENGLISH LAW ON THE HIGH SEAS
AND BEYOND THE REALM.
IN TWO PARTS.
Nationality and Naturalization.
SIR FRANCIS PIGGOTT, KT., M.A., LL.M.,
CHIEF JUSTICE OF HONG KONG.
WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
7, FLEET STREET.
In the First Part of this book I have endeavoured to unravel the law of British Nationality, with its allied subject, Naturalization.
This law lies almost entirely within the compass of the Naturalization Act of 1870. It has been considered in very few cases. But the fact that questions under this Act come
so seldom before the Courts must not be taken to indicate
that the existence of doubts as to a person's nationality is of rare occurrence. The nature of the subject is such that difficulties do not often arise before Courts of Law. There must be a multitude of persons who cannot say with certainty whether they are British subjects or not; but their most common trouble arises in the Consulates, and their plaints find their way into the columns of the newspapers.
Into the merits of the vexed question whether the jus soli should not now be abandoned and British nationality be based henceforward on the jus sanguinis I have not entered at length; but it was impossible not to point out the inconveniences which may result from the continuance of the present law, more especially in connexion with "double nationality."
It is but a crude way of putting so important a question before the nation to state it thus: Shall the principle on which British nationality is based be altered?
The question should rather be put in this way: Birth within the realm has hitherto made men British subjects; in view of the many inconveniences resulting from this law, shall it be discontinued, and the broad rule be established that the children of British subjects shall be British subjects? The change would be radical, but it is difficult to see whose rightful interests would be prejudicially affected. It would include as British subjects those who are so in spirit already, the children's children of the third and subsequent generations, who now run the risk of having no nationality; it would exclude those who are in spirit and in common parlance