Vigoureux v Danube-Save-Adriatique

Docket NumberCase No. 1
Date12 décembre 1951
CourtCivil Tribunal (France)
France, Tribunal Civil de la Seine.
Case No. 1
Comité des Obligataires Danube-Save-Adriatique.

International Law — Subjects of — Committee of Private Persons Set Up by International Convention — Committee of Private Persons Participating in International Agreements — War — Effects of Outbreak of — Treaties Concerning Private Law Matters.

The Facts.—This was an action by a holder of debentures of the Danube-Save-Adriatic Railway Company against four persons as representing the Committee of Debenture Holders of that Company. Under Agreements signed at Rome on March 29, 1923, by a number of States and private persons, in pursuance of the Peace Treaty of St.-Germain with Austria, 1919, which set up the Danube-Save-Adriatic Railway Company as successor to the South-Austrian Railway Company, the Committee of Debenture Holders was charged with the administration of funds which were maintained out of certain rentals and contributions and were used for the payment of interest on and for the redemption of the debentures. On the outbreak of the Second World War the Committee of Debenture Holders was in possession of funds which were never distributed. The purpose of the present action was to compel the Committee to distribute those funds as well as sums received or due after the outbreak of war. The main question before the Court was whether the Committee of Debenture Holders had legal personality, enabling it to be sued as such.

Held: that the Committee of Debenture Holders had legal personality since it had been set up and recognized by international conventions, that the Committee must distribute the funds held by it on behalf of debenture holders on the outbreak of war, but that the question of sums falling due after the outbreak of war must be left in abeyance until the negotiation of further arrangements, since the obligations of States had lapsed as a result of the outbreak of war. The Court said:

“The Treaty of Saint-Germain of September 10, 1919 (Article 320), and the Treaty of Trianon of June 4, 1920 (Article 304), empowered a committee to represent the holders of debentures, and thus conferred legal personality on that Committee. That Committee, represented by two of its members who signed ‘for the Committee of Debenture Holders’, took part in the Rome Agreements of March 29, 1923, concluded in execution of the preceding Treaties, together with the High Contracting Parties. These Agreements laid down the name, composition, function and...

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