Egyptian Enterprise and Development Company v Minister for War

Docket NumberCase No. 34
Date01 mars 1937
CourtCivil Tribunal (France)
France, Tribunal Civil de la Seine.
Case No. 34
The Egyptian Enterprise and Development Company
Minister for War.

Treaties — Agencies of Interpretation — French Courts — Competence to Interpret Treaties.

Mandates — Rights and Duties of Mandatory — French Mandate over Syria — Alleged Expropriation — Military Requisition for Temporary Occupation — Interpretation of Treaties — Incompetence of Judicial Tribunals.

The Facts.—The plaintiff Company had acquired land in Lebanon to be sold in lots, with the object of developing the town of Beyrout. In 1920, without approaching the owners, the French Army of the Levant occupied a part of this land to set up an artillery depot. The Company protested against this occupation, and claimed 12 million francs damages and possession of the land wrongfully occupied.

Held: that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction. The Court said: “It must be borne in mind that France is not in Syria on its own account, but as a tutelary power holding a mandate from the League of Nations. The land was at no time held by France animo domini, and so could not amount to expropriation, since, in the absence of any intention to acquire the land, occupation could not constitute a transfer of ownership.

“Thus, it must be admitted that the facts on which the plaintiffs base their claim actually constitute a military requisition for temporary occupation. If damage done as a result...

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