Re Churchwardens of the Catholic Parish in Filehne

CourtObsolete Court (Germany)
Docket NumberCase No. 45
Date21 r 1937
Germany, Supreme Court of the Reich (in Civil Matters).
Case No. 45
In re Churchwardens of the Catholic Parish in Filehne.

State Succession — Continuation of Laws — Separation of Territory — Church in Poland — Advowson attached to Manor in Germany — Whether Patronage Continues.

The Facts.—By the Treaty of Versailles the southern part of the district of Filehne in Prussia became Polish, while the northern part, together with the manor, remained Prussian. The plaintiffs, acting for the Catholic parish situated in the Polish part of the district, sued for a declaration that the defendant, the former patron of the parish in his capacity as lord of the manor, had remained patron despite the division of the district. The action was dismissed by the court of first instance and the Court of Appeal. Upon further appeal,

Held: that the appeal failed. After stating that the right of patronage is an institution of ecclesiastical law, appertaining to the sphere of public law and that the rules of conflict of laws could not therefore serve to decide whether a right of patronage could subsist with regard to a parish situated in foreign territory, the Court said: “The Court of Appeal is right in assuming that, similarly, rules of State succession do not lend themselves for a solution of the present question. The only conclusion to be drawn from them is that a right of patronage which is exclusively connected with the ceded territory must be upheld despite the change of sovereignty. …1 In principle, the regulation of matters of public law by the State in the exercise of its sovereignty is restricted to the State territory. The provisions in the Prussian Code regarding the right of patronage refer to such patronages...

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