No time runs against, or place affects, the King.
By a Council at Lateran, the Pope endeavoured to take from princes and lay patrons, the right of presentation to a benefice by lapse ; saying, that the presentation was spiritual, whereas the common law of England says it is temporal, and it has been so declared by many Acts of Parliament ; the law being, that it is the right of the diocesan to present after six months' lapse by the patron, if the patron do not in the meantime, though after the six months, present, in which case the diocesan ought to receive the clerk presented ; and after default of the diocesan, then of the metropolitan ; and in default of him, the Crown : but when the King's turn comes to present, jure coronce, by lapse, the law is, “ Nullum tempus occurrit regi ex consuetudine hactenus obtent' in Regno Anglise” — No time runs against the King according to the custom of England ; for the King being supremus Dominus, does not lose his right at all by lapse. And, upon the same principle, there can be no lapse when the original presentation is in the Crown. But the right acquired by the Crown by lapse is only to the next presentation ; and if the Crown neglect to present, and the patron present, and his clerk die incumbent, the Crown loses the right to present which it had gained by lapse.
This maxim implies that there can be no laches on the part of the King, and that therefore no delay will bar his right ; the law understanding, that the King is always busied about public affairs and for the public good, and has not time to assert his right within the time limited for that purpose to his subjects.
Several statutes have, however, from time to time made inroads, for the public welfare, into this royal prerogative. By statute, the Crown is not to sue for lands, tenements, rents, etc, other than liberties and franchises, where the parties have been in possession sixty years before the commencement of the suit ; nor to sue after sixty years for any lands, tenements, rents, etc, by reason of any such lands, etc, having been in charge to the Crown ; nor, after adverse possession of lands for twenty years, save by information of intrusion.
To criminal prosecutions at common law, at the suit of the Crown, there is no limitation ; but, by statute law, proceedings for many minor offences are required to be taken within a limited period.
The maxim under consideration does not apply to lands, c, purchased by the Sovereign out of the privy purse.
As to the latter part of the maxim, that no place affects the King : it is said, in a recent case, to be a matter of universal law, that on the death of the last owner without heirs, his real property escheats to the Crown as supreme lord ; and that there is nothing in the Hindoo law to prevent the application of this rule to the property of a deceased Brahmin. It has, however, also been held that, though it is a prerogative of the Crown to present to a benefice in England which becomes vacant by the promotion of the incumbent to a bishopric in England ; yet, the .Crown has no prerogative right to present to a benefice in England becoming vacant by the promotion of the incumbent to a colonial bishopric within the Queen's dominions which has been erected and constituted solely by the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown.
2 Inst. 272 ; Cro. Gar. 355 ; Finch, 1. 82 ; 6 Co. 50 ; Co. Litt. 90 ; 3 Camp. 227; Hob. 347; Griffith ». Baldwin, 11 East, 488; Attorney-General v. Parsons, 2 M. & W. 23; Doe dem. Watt v. Morris, 2 Bing. N. C. 187; 21 Jac. 1, e. 2; 7 Will. 3, c. 3 ; 9 Geo. 3, c. 16 ; 32 Geo. 3, e. 58; 24 & 25 Vict. c. 62 ; Lambert v. Taylor, 4 B. & C. 151 ; Kerr Bla. 241 ; Masiui- patam v. Narainapah, 3 L. T. (N.S.) 221 ; Reg. v. Eton College, 30 L. T. 186.