Posen Society Case

CourtCourt of Appeal of Berlin (Germany)
Docket NumberCase No. 39
Date06 n 1932
Germany, Court of Appeal of Berlin.
Case No. 39
Posen Society Case.

State Succession — Legal Effect of Partition of Territory on Public Corporations — Succession in Title to jura in rem of Such Corporations.

The Facts.—Before the World War a mortgage was registered on the defendant's property in favour of the Provinzial-Feuersozietät of Posen, a public corporation created by charter under Prussian law. Under the Treaty of Versailles the mortgaged property itself continued to be in Prussian territory, but most of the Province of Posen, together with the business and the greater part of the property of the mortgagee Society (which changed its name), was transferred to Poland. The remaining part of the immovable property of the Society became part of the Prussian Province of Grenzmark Posen—West Prussia, and was taken over by the Brandenburg Fire Society after an alteration of the latter's charter had been authorised by the Prussian Cabinet. Subsequently, the Society's business in so far as it lay in the Prussian Province was transferred to the newly incorporated Grenzmark Fire Society. In the present action the Polish Fire Society claimed rights arising from the mortgage as successors in title of the former Posen Society.

Held: that the action must be dismissed on the ground that the plaintiffs had no right to sue.

1. By virtue of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, the former Posen Fire Society had ceased to exist.

(a) Although Poland, in her territory, had kept the Society in existence under another name, this did not justify the contention that thereby the Polish Society could be regarded as identical with the former Prussian Corporation. “For Poland had only the power to maintain the Society in existence within her own territory, where she exercised jurisdiction. The contention that the Society thus continued by Poland continued to exist also in respect of that part of the Province of Posen which remained with Prussia and Germany does not commend itself to the Court. A Polish, i.e., a foreign, public corporation could exercise Prussian-German powers of administration only by simultaneously infringing Prussian jurisdiction. Furthermore, whereas the Society's charter provides for the conduct of the business by the Province, and for the control of such business by the State, it is not conceivable how a foreign Province could conduct the business of a … Society on Prussian territory nor how a foreign State could be in a position to exercise control...

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