Thursday, 17 March 2011

Skinner versus The East India Company

Skinner v. East India Company (1666) [6 State Trials 709-770]

This case, while primarily famous for it's role in determining the balance of power between the King and Parliament, also shows contemporary legal thought on the relationship of the EIC's settlements in India to metropolitan law. In brief the case revolved around Skinner, an English spice merchant, who went to the went to the House of Lords in an attempt to receive damages from the EIC for seizing a warehouse and island from him in the East Indies. The House of Lords referred the petition to the primary common law court of the land, the King's Bench. The learned justices of the King's Bench gave it as their opinion that such matters “beyond the seas” could not be cognizable in the metropolitan courts.

Anglo-Indian legal history: Documents

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