Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Angary Definition:

The right of a state at war, in circumstances of necessity, to seize or destroy property belonging to a neutral state.

"Angary has come to denote primarily the requisition of ships."

So wrote C. Bullock in his 1922 article on the topic.

In Burmah Oil, Justice Reid of the House of Lords wrote:

"[T]he right of angary (is) the right to requisition neutral property within the jurisdiction, if required for war purposes and upon payment of compensation.... Angary , however, as those cases made plain, was only a Crown right recognised by our municipal law because it was a belligerent right recognised by international law and there acknowledged to be subject to the condition of providing compensation to the deprived neutral. "

Similarly, Jennings wrote this in the Cambridge Law Journal (1927):

"... the Crown has by prerogative the right to requisition the goods of neutrals found in this country, on payment of compensation, where such seizure is necessary for the defence of the realm. This right corresponds to what is known in international law as the right to angary."

Bledsoe and Boczek:

"Angary: The right of a belligerent state - in cases of urgent necessity - to destroy or use neutral property on its own or enemy's territory, or on the high seas. The right of angary, which is a kind of wartime embargo, extend in particular to neutral vessels and other means of transportation....

"The right of angary has its historical origins in the medieval right of belligerents to seize vessels and crews of third states, known as jus angariae....

"The extent of the right of angary on the high seas is a controversial matter...."

Angary includes the alleged right to seize the goods - property and money - of neutral states on payment of compensation, where such seizure is necessary for the defence of the seizing state.


  • Bledsoe, Robert and Boczek, Boleslaw, The International Law Dictionary (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 1987), page 348
  • Bullock, C., Angary, 3 BYBIL 99 (1922-1923)
  • Burmah Oil v Lord Advocate [1964] UKHL 6
  • Jennnings, W., I., Right of Angary, 3 C.L.J. 49 (1927-1929)

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