German Requisitions (Necessity and Self-Preservation) Case

Docket NumberCase No. 296
Date01 Noviembre 1922
CourtObsolete Court (Germany)
Germany, Reichsgericht in Civil Matters.
Case No. 296
German Requisitions (Necessity and Self-Preservation) Case.

Requisitions — Article 52 of the Fourth Hague Convention — Disregard of — Necessity and Self-Preservation — German Requisitions in Belgium.

War — Rules of Warfare — Binding Force of — Necessity and Self-Preservation — Article 52 of the Fourth Hague Convention — German Requisitions in Belgium.

The Facts.—During the World War the German occupation authorities in Belgium requisitioned a motor belonging to a Belgian manufacturer. They then sold the motor to the defendant, who sold it under a guarantee to another governmental authority, which, in turn, sold it to the plaintiff together with the guarantee attaching to it. Subsequently the plaintiff was deprived of the motor by way of expropriation through the so-called Restoration Commission (Rücklieferungskommission) established in pursuance of the Treaty of Versailles and charged, inter alia, with the restitution to the lawful owners in France and Belgium of property taken away by Germany. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant never acquired property in the motor on the ground that the requisition, being contrary to the Hague Convention, was illegal1 and that the Belgian

owner therefore never lost his right of property in the motor

Held, on final appeal on a point of law: That the action must be dismissed. The Belgian owner was deprived of his property by requisition effected by the German authorities.

(a) There is no doubt that the German authorities in Belgium took away the motor in question with the object of transferring the property in it to the German Reich. Accordingly, unless the requisition was illegal, the Belgian owner lost his property in the motor. Requisitions, being an act of sovereignty, are subject to judicial review only in so far as the judge has to investigate whether they have not been effected as the result of obvious excess of authority. Only if the...

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