Navrom v Buenamar Compania Naviera

JurisdictionFrance
CourtCourt of Cassation (France)
Date06 juillet 1988
France, Court of Cassation.

(Ponsard, President; Grgoire, Rapporteur; Dontenwille, Advocate General)

Romanian Maritime Navigation Company (Navrom)
and
Buenamar Compania Naviera and Another

State responsibility For debts State corporations Whether endowed with independent legal personality Whether such corporations may be held liable for each other's debts Independence of such corporations in socialist State

Economics, trade and finance State corporations Legal status Whether such corporations may be held liable for each other's debts Relevance of State monopoly over trade and commerce in socialist State The law of France

Summary: The facts:1A Romanian public company, Prodexport, owed a debt to a Greek company, Buenamar. In order to ensure payment of its

debt, the Greek company obtained the conservatory attachment in a French port of a vessel owned by another Romanian public company, Navrom. Navrom requested the vacation of the attachment. The Court of Rouen refused the request, holding that the Romanian State monopoly of external trade meant that State corporations involved in such trade could be held liable for each other's debts. Navrom appealed

Held:The appeal was allowed and the case was remitted to the Court of Appeal of Rennes. The general lien enjoyed by a creditor covered all the assets of the debtor. But where the debtor was a State corporation it was insufficient merely to affirm that in socialist States public corporations were the emanations of their States and on that basis to hold that the assets of one such corporation could be seized for the settlement of the debts of another. It was also necessary to explain why each corporation did not possess its own distinct assets.

The following is the text of the judgment of the Court:

The Court has taken into consideration Article 2092 of the Civil Code. The general lien created by that provision for the benefit of creditors only covers the assets owned by the debtor.

The Greek company Buenamar is a creditor of the Romanian company Prodexport. Buenamar was authorized by a court order to obtain the conservatory attachment of the vessel Filaret, which belongs to another Romanian company, the shipping company Navrom.

The...

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