Voest AG v Federal Ministry of Finance

JurisdictionAustria
CourtAdministrative Court (Austria)
Docket NumberCase No. 217
Date28 1951
Austria, Administrative Court.
Case No. 217
Vereinigte Österreichische Eisen- und Stahlwerke (Voest) A.G.
and
Federal Ministry of Finance.

Belligerent Occupation — Requisition of Land by Occupant — Compensation Assessed by Authorities of Occupied Country — Whether Assessment Constitutes an Administrative Decision of the Occupant or of the Authorities of the Occupied Country — Right of Appeal against Assessment to Courts of Occupied Country — The Law of Austria.

The Facts.—In so far as here material, Austrian law provides that a person aggrieved by the decision of an administrative authority may appeal against that decision to the Administrative Court. In the present case the appellants, who were the owners of certain land requisitioned by the United States army of occupation for the purpose of housing prisoners of war detained by the United States armed forces, appealed against the assessment of the compensation they were to receive for the user of their land. The amount had been assessed by the competent Austrian Ministry. The appellants contended that as persons aggrieved by the decision of an administrative authority, they were entitled to appeal. The Ministry, respondents herein, contended that as the land had been requisitioned by the Occupant the Austrian authorities, notwithstanding that they had assessed the amount to be paid to the appellants, had acted by order and in the name of the Occupant, and that accordingly the appellants were not aggrieved by a decision of an Austrian administrative authority, which alone would entitle them to appeal.

Held: that as the Ministry had acted by order and in the name of the Occupant, the Administrative Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The Court said:

“The land was requisitioned by the Occupying Power within the latter's own sphere of competence. The requisition is therefore based exclusively on the authority of the Occupying Power, and not on any Austrian law. In so far as the Austrian authorities grant compensation in respect of...

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