Marine Service Group Case

CourtObsolete Court (Germany)
Date17 1949
Docket NumberCase No. 16
Germany (British Zone), Supreme Court.
Case No. 16
Marine Service Group Case.

War — Termination of — Subjugation — Status of Germany.

States — Continuity of — Changes in Condition — Debellatio — Continued Existence of Germany as a State — Liability for Damage Caused by Warship — Transfer of Liability.

The facts.—On November 20, 1941, a collision occurred between a German auxiliary cruiser and a Swedish vessel. On the facts as found the cruiser was responsible for the collision, which resulted in the loss of the Swedish vessel. Accordingly, an action was brought by the owners against the German Reich. The question having arisen whether the German Federal Republic was the proper defendant in the case,

Held: that the action had been properly instituted against the Reich, which had not ceased to exist as a State, and which, for the purposes of the action, was represented by the Oberfinanzpräsident of Hamburg. The Court said:

“With regard to the description of the defendant (in the title of the action), the parties have never been in disagreement as to the fact that the claim, in so far as it is justified, constitutes a liability of the German Reich. Accordingly, the present action was instituted against the German Reich from the beginning. Similarly, when the plaintiffs, in the proceedings before the Appeal Court, changed the title of the defendant, in accordance with a suggestion made by the latter, to ‘Marine Service Group Hamburg’, both parties were agreed that the Marine Service Group was to be regarded merely as the representative of the German Reich for the purposes of the proceedings; this is admitted in the notice of appeal. It seems permissible, therefore, again to adopt the former description of the defendant, in accordance with a fresh suggestion...

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