Foreign Companies (Acquisition of Property) Case

CourtCourt of Appeal of Berlin (Germany)
Docket NumberCase No. 147
Germany, Court of Appeal of Berlin.
Case No. 147
Foreign Companies (Acquisition of Property) Case.

Nationality — The Term “National”— Meaning of — How Far Applicable to Companies.

Aliens — Legal Position of — Acquisition of German Real Property by Foreign Companies — Meaning of the Term “National.”

The Facts.—The point in issue in the present case was whether an English company had to obtain the consent of the Prussian Cabinet, under Article 7 (2) of the Prussian Act to give effect to the German Civil Code, in order to acquire real property situate in Prussia, or whether that provision had been superseded by Article 5 of the Anglo-German Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of December 2, 1924, which acquired statutory force. Article 5 conferred on subjects of the contracting parties full liberty to acquire real property in the territory of the other party provided that the subjects of another foreign State were entitled to do so.

Held: that the Treaty had not altered the provisions of the Act. Article 5 applied only to individuals. This followed from the expression “Staatsangehöriger” (national) in the German text. Under the Nationality Act of July 22, 1913, nationality applied only to individuals. As regards companies and corporations, the term “nationality” was used only in a figurative sense. Moreover, the German Foreign Office had certified that the expression “subjects or citizens” in the English text usually applied only to individuals. In addition, other provisions of the Convention which spoke of “the subjects of each of the Contracting Parties,” showed that it was intended...

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