Nationalization of Czechoslovak Enterprise Case

JurisdictionAustria
CourtAdministrative Court (Austria)
Austria, Administrative Court.
Nationalization of Czechoslovak Enterprise (Austrian Assets) Case.

Jurisdiction Territorial limits of Foreign confiscatory legislation Nationalization of foreign company Substitution of state enterprise Appointment of administrator of assets of former company situate in forum State Validity of appointment Locus standi of State enterprise to appeal against appointment The law of Austria.

Recognition of acts of foreign States and Governments Foreign confiscatory decree Nationalization of foreign company Substitution of State enterprise Assets of nationalized company in forum State Appointment of administrator of assets in forum State Whether appointment valid Locus standi of State enterprise to appeal against appointment The law of Austria.

The Facts.A mining company in Czechoslovakia was nationalized and its property transferred to a national enterprise (the complainant herein). Compensation was promised, but German shareholders were expressly excluded from this promise. In fact, no compensation was paid. The company owned certain assets in Austria, and in accordance with Austrian law an administrator was appointed to administer the company's Austrian assets. The national enterprise lodged a complaint against the appointment of the administrator and contended that the nationalization was not confiscatory because compensation had been promised in the Czechoslovak nationalization decree and that, even if the decree were to be regarded as confiscatory, it ought to be recognized in Austria because it was not against Austrian ordre public, the reason being that Austria herself had enacted confiscatory legislation since the end of the Second World War. The complainant accordingly argued that it had been validly substituted for the nationalized company, whose assets in Austria ought not to be administered by an administrator but by the complainant itself.

Held: that (i) the complainant had no locus standi, and the complaint against the appointment of the administrator must be rejected as inadmissible; (ii) on the facts it was clear that the nationalization of the company was confiscatory because, although compensation had been promised, no compensation had in fact been paid, and because German shareholders had been expressly excluded from that promise; (iii) as on the facts the nationalization was confiscatory, it must be denied recognition in Austria, from which it followed that the administrator of the company's Austrian assets...

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