Thursday, October 20, 2005

Finders Keepers, Losers English

One of the things I like most about Martime Law is its obvious salty flavor.

Today, while covering the law of salvage, we again engage in that favorite of law student/theorist passtimes: WWED? (Where WWED = What Would England Do? And generally, that's What Would England Do or Have Done Prior To 1791.) It's a hoot, I tell you. Yes, America, we're more tied to mother England that you might thing (some of us especially so).

Discussed in the salvage discussion is the notion of finds - one of those legal terms you know they've made up and are supposed to read and recite without giggling but just can't resist a good chortle at the obviousness of it all.

In England, found property belongs to the sovereign. That tuppance is the Queen's, you theiving bastard!

In America, however, the law is damn near literally finders-keepers-losers-weepers. Found property (in the maritime context specifically) belongs to the finders. That gold piece is mine, f-you, Congress!

But it's the case names that I love most: Gardner v. Ninety-Nine Gold Coins, Peabody v. Proceeds of 28 Bags of Cotton, Chance v. Certain Artifacts Found and Salvaged, Wiggins v. 1100 Tons More or Less, of Italian Marble, and of course, the famous Johnson v. A Goat, A Sack of Grain, and A Wolf, the facts of which are too complicated to get into here.

3 comments:

cd said...

btw: all the case names, save the last one, are real. even i'm not that clever.

jbl said...

If you'd gone with a fox and a chicken instead of a goat and a wolf, you could have made a reference to The Office.

cd said...

The way I originally learned it was goat and wolf, but it was definitely still a nod to the Office.