Sirius SA v Bracht

JurisdictionFrance
CourtCommercial Court (France)
France, Tribunal de Commerce of Lille.
Socit Anonyme Sirius
and
Bracht.
STATE RESPONSIBILITY

State responsibility Nature and kinds of For taking of, or interference with, property Algeria Expropriation of French property Whether contrary to ordre public Whether contrary to Evian Agreements The law of France.

Treaties Conclusion and operation of Ratification Treaties involving status of territory Constitutional requirement requiring ratification by referendum French Constitution of 1958 (Article 3) Algeria Evian Agreements Whether duly ratified The law of France.

JURISDICTION

Jurisdiction In general Territorial Over territory in general and persons and property situated therein Territorial limits of jurisdiction Expropriation of alien property Algeria Nationalization of French property Whether contrary to Evian Agreements Whether constituting force majeure The law of France.

Summary.The Sirius Company claimed payment from Mme Bracht in respect of merchandise delivered in Algeria, where Mme Bracht was resident, but not paid for. The defendant pleaded that after trading as a shoe-retailer in Algeria from 1953, she was forced to leave Algeria in 1962 and her property was seized by the Algerian State and no compensation was subsequently paid.

Held: that the Evian Agreements, which had been ratified by referendum in 1962 and must therefore be applied, included the principle that no one should be required to surrender his property except for a public purpose and in return for a fair and prior indemnity. The French Law of 26 March 1961 obliged the French State to compensate expropriated French nationals. In the present case, the expropriation constituted a case of force majeure. Consequently, judgment on the claim should be deferred.

The following is the text of the judgment:

By a writ dated 9 November 1964, the Sirius Company brought an action against Mme Maria Bracht for payment of the sum of 3,288.85 francs due for the supply of merchandise. When the action came before the Court at today's hearing, Mme Bracht asked that the Court should defer judgment.

Mme Bracht, who was at that time resident at 71 Avenue Clemenceau in El-Biar (Algeria), gave an order to the Sirius Company on 24 October 1961 for a certain quantity of merchandise. This merchandise was delivered, and billed on 23 February and 10 March 1962 for the sum of 2,681.50 francs and 556.22 francs respectively. These bills...

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