Probate restrictions - World War I

In going through old paperwork, we came across a slip of paper pasted to a grant dating from 1919 bearing the following statement:

This Grant is made upon the condition that no portion of the assets shall be distributed or paid during the War to any beneficiary or creditor who is a German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish or Bulgarian subject, wherever resident, or to anyone on his behalf, or to or on behalf of any person resident in Germany, Austro-Hungary, Turkey or Bulgaria, of whatever nationality, without the express sanction of the Crown, acting through the Treasury; and if any distribution or payment is made contrary to this condition the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration will be forthwith revoked.

Upon an application to the Solicitor to the Treasury there will be no difficulty in proper cases in obtaining the sanction of the Treasury to the payment of a moderate sum out of assets to the beneficiaries or creditors who are German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish or Bulgarian subjects resident in this country and the commencement of the War and during the War.


Senior Registrar

Despite extensive googling, I have been unable to find the statutory etc authority for this (although I have seen it referred to many times), and I wondered if forum members could help?

Su England

Robinson Allfree

I suggest the relevant legislation was included in the Trading with the Enemy Proclamation, No. 2 [1914, No. 1376], made on 9 September 1914. Clause 5 states:

  1. From and after the date of this Proclamation the following prohibi-
    tions shall have effect (save so far as licences may be issued as hereinafter
    provided), and We do hereby accordingly warn all persons resident, carry-
    ing on business, or being in Our Dominions —

(1) Not to pay any sum of money to or for the benefit of an

Similar provision may well have been included in the first such Proclamation, and restated in subsequent legislation, including the Trading with the Enemy Acts.

Unfortunately, the legislation does not appear to be available through the UK Government website (probably as it has been repealed).

Charles Henry Huberich published a review of the international laws relating to trading with the enemy in 1918 (, from which the above was sourced.

Paul Saunders