The Problem with Suing Sovereigns: Sloman v. Governor and Government of New Zealand (1876)

Victoria University Wellington Law Review, Vol. 41, p. 404, 2010

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 5/2011

24 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2010 Last revised: 7 Apr 2015

Geoff McLay

New Zealand Law Foundation; Victoria University of Wellington - Law Faculty

Date Written: July 2, 2012

Abstract

In Sloman v. The Governor and Government of New Zealand the plaintiff attempted to sue the New Zealand Government for failing to make good on emigration contracts concluded in Europe. This article analyses the decision in Sloman, that the New Zealand government could not be sued in English courts, both within its own historical context and with respect to 19th century concerns over the general inability of the Crown to be sued. The article points to archival documents which show that the New Zealand Government itself was concerned, in the wake of the earlier loss of the Cospatrick, as to its own ability to recover the passage monies it had paid, and whether that recovery might be prevented by a lack of legal personality in the English Courts. The article concludes that while Sloman is an important case in its own right, there is also a need for greater investigation of both the practical and theoretical legal difficulties that faced the New Zealand Government in its development and immigration projects of the 1870s.

Keywords: Colonial Legal History, Legal Personality , Crown Liability, Immigration Contracts

Suggested Citation

McLay, Geoff, The Problem with Suing Sovereigns: Sloman v. Governor and Government of New Zealand (1876) (July 2, 2012). Victoria University Wellington Law Review, Vol. 41, p. 404, 2010; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 5/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1719674

Geoff McLay (Contact Author)

New Zealand Law Foundation

PO Box 5056
Level 1, 70 The Terrace
Wellington, 6145
New Zealand

HOME PAGE: http://www.lawfoundation.org.nz/

Victoria University of Wellington - Law Faculty ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington 6140
New Zealand
64 4 4636361 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/staff/Academic%20Staff/AssocProfs/McLayG/index.aspx

Paper statistics

Downloads
67
Rank
278,963
Abstract Views
564