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The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit [Kuwait] and Mohammerah. Scope of undertakings given by HM Government in 1914. Case for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown and Opinion thereon T W H Inskip and F B Merriman, Law Officers' Department, 29 Mar 1933. inc The date gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah. Historical summary [undated] [‎3r] (5/70)

The record is made up of 1 file (35 folios). It was created in 29 Mar 1933. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.

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the owner or occupier of the land yielding the produce. Thus in
its method of assessment and collection the tax is somewhat similar
to an excise or export duty.
8. The collection of the new tax in respect of the produce of
the Sheikhs' date gardens is now being enforced, and the first of
the two questions on which the opinion of the Law Officers is desired
is whether the levy of this tax on the produce of these date gardens
involves a breach of the undertakings given to the Sheikhs in 1914
that their date gardens should be immune from taxes or imposts
or from taxation as the case may be. It will be appreciated that
in their capacity as proprietors of these gardens the Sheikhs will
not be called upon to pay any tax, but in so far as they themselves,
or their agents, sell or export the produce of the gardens they will
be liable to pay the Istihlak tax on the produce thus sold or ex
ported. It should be mentioned, however, although the point is
not strictly relevant to the legal question in issue, that the pro
visions of the new law will in practice press with particular hard
ship on the Sheikhs, since they do not reside in Iraq and con
sequently all produce which may be used for their own consumption
and the maintenance of their families and retainers and which is
necessarily taken out of Iraq will be liable to the tax; whereas a
person residing in Iraq will be exempt from the tax in respect of
such part of the produce of his property as is consumed in loco.
9. The issue can therefore be shortly stated as follows, viz.
whether the date gardens in question must be regarded as subject
to the payment of taxes or imposts in the one case or as no longer
*' immune from taxation in the other, by reason of the fact that
this tax is levied on all the produce of those gardens sold or ex
ported from Iraq.
10. In view of the circumstances in which the undertakings
were given and the parties to the bargain thus made, it is doubtful
whether anv assistance can be obtained from any decisions of the
English Courts relating to statutory exemptions from taxation.
Reference may however be made to two well-known cases. 1 he best
known case is probably that of the Associated Newspapers Limtted
v City of London Corporation (1926 2 A.C. 429) in which it was
decided that the Statute 7 Geo. 3 c. 37, which authorised various
improvements in the City of London and provided {inter aha) that
land reclaimed from the bed of the Thames should vest in the owners
of the adjoining land " free from all taxes and assessments what
soever ", extended not only to taxes and assessments in existence at
the time the Act was passed, but also to taxes and assessments sub
sequently imposed and which were not mere substitutes for such as
existed when the Statute first became operative. In the present case
it clearly cannot even be suggested that the undei taking gi\en at the
outbreak of war in 1914 had regard only to existing taxation im
posed under Turkish laws; indeed the whole basis of the undertaking
was that the territory in question would, it was confidently hoped,
cease to be under Turkish rule.
11. The only other case to which it is thought the attention
of the Law Officers might perhaps be drawn is that of (7% o/
Halifax v. Nova Scotia Car U orks lAd. (1914 A.C. 992), in which
the Privy Council decided that where under an agreement with the
City Corporation the company were entitled to " a total exemption
from taxation ' for ten years on certain land, the company could
not be called upon to contribute towards the cost of constructing a
sewer under a clause in the City's Charter which provided that
owners of property fronting on any sewer laid by the Corporation
should contribute to its cost according to their frontage. Some of
the remarks in the judgment in this case respecting the point of
view from which a Court is likely to consider cases where one party

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Content

This file contains a British Government report (folios 1-19) regarding promises made by the British in 1914 to the rulers of Kuwait and Mohammerah concerning their ownership of date gardens in Iraq.

The report contains a description of the situation and the legal opinion of T W H Inskip and F B Merriman, Law Officers of the Crown. The report includes an appendix containing copies of a number of relevant memorandums and letters.

The file also contains an undated report (folios 20-35) entitled 'The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah' that provides a detailed historical summary of the case.

Extent and format
1 file (35 folios)
Arrangement

The file is divided into two sections; the 'Scope of undertakings given by HM Government in 1914' and a 'Historical Summary'.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the first folio of the former and terminates at the last folio of the latter; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: Each section of the file also contains an original and distinct pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit [Kuwait] and Mohammerah. Scope of undertakings given by HM Government in 1914. Case for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown and Opinion thereon T W H Inskip and F B Merriman, Law Officers' Department, 29 Mar 1933. inc The date gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah. Historical summary [undated] [‎3r] (5/70), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B468, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023252882.0x000006> [accessed 17 November 2019]

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