Chemidlin v International Bureau of Weights and Measures

Docket NumberCase No. 94
Date27 juillet 1945
CourtCivil Tribunal (France)
France, Tribunal Civil of Versailles.
Case No. 94
International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

International Administration — Juridical Status of International Bureau of Weights and Measures — International Conventions of Paris (May 20, 1875) and Sèvres (October 6, 1921) — Jurisdiction of French Courts.

The Facts.—Chemidlin, a former employee of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, brought an action against the Bureau and its Director claiming 100,000 francs and interest for breach of contract and failure to reinstate him in the position which he had occupied since 1931. The plaintiff had been called up in 1939, and was a prisoner of war from 1940 to 1941. He claimed under the French Laws of September 13, 1939, and June 30, 1941, concerning ex-soldiers and returned prisoners of war. The Director of the Bureau, in his defence, alleged that Chemidlin had left his employ in 1937 in order to undergo the normal term of military service (and had been retained with the colours after the outbreak of war). He also contended that, in any event, as an international organisation regulated by treaties outside French law, the Bureau was entitled to rely on its own, particular statutes, which took precedence over any relevant French law.

Held: that the Tribunal was without jurisdiction ratione materiae.

“The International Bureau of Weights and Measures was created by the Convention signed at Paris on May 20, 1875, modified by an international Convention signed at Sèvres on October 6, 1921, by the plenipotentiaries of 27 States, including France. The expenses of the Bureau are borne by the signatory Powers. Its headquarters is at Paris, and it functions under the sole supervision of an International Committee of Weights and Measures, itself placed under the authority of a General...

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