1924

PCIJ

Mavromatis Palestine Concessions Case Greece v. UK Jurisdiction Series A, No. 2, pp 6-93

1914, Mavrommatis, a Greek subject at the time of the dispute, concluded contracts with the Ottoman authorities with regard concessions for certain public works and services (electric tramway system, electric light and power and drinking water) to be executed in Palestine. In these contracts Mavrommatis was described as Ottoman subject. After the IWW the Ottoman empire by treaty lost control over Palestine. 1922 LN approved the British Mandate for Palestine, under a protocol annexed to the treaty, concessions concluded before October 29, 1914 between Turkish authorities and nationals of the contracting parties other than Turkey were maintained. Great Britain was subrogated in respect of Palestine. The British administer of Palestine refused to give effect to the Mavrommatis concession, and gave the concessions to M. Rutenberg. Artícle 29 of the Rutenberg concession: “In the event of there being any valid pre-existing concession covering the whole or any part of the present concession [Mavromatis Concession], the Hight Commissioner, if requested in writing by the Company [Rutenberg] so to do, shall take the necessary measures for annulling such concession on payment of fair compensation” Greek government brought the matter before the Court

[11] A dispute is a disagreement on a point of law or fact, a conflict of legal views or of interest between two persons. The present suit between Great Britain and Greece certainly possesses there characteristics. The latter Power is asserting its own rights by claiming from His Britannic Majesty’s Government an indemnity on the ground that M. Mavromatis, one of its subjects, has been treated by the Palestine or British Authorities in a manner incompatible with certain international obligations with they were bound to observe. [12] In the case of the Mavromatis concessions it is true that the dispute was at first between a private person and a State – i.e. between M. Mavromatis and Great Britain. Subsequently, the Greek Government took up the case. The dispute then entered upon a new phase; it entered the domain of international law, and became a dispute between two States. [12] It is an elementary principle of international law that a State is entitled to protect its subjects, when injured by acts contrary to international law committed by another State, form whom they have been unable to obtain satisfaction through the ordinary channels. By taking up the case of one of its subjects and by resorting to diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on his behalf, a State is in reality asserting its own rights – its right to ensure, in the person of its subjects, respect for the rules of international law. (19) [Interpreting ‘public control’ from ‘controle public’ in the texts of the Palestine mandate] The Court is of opinion that, where two versions possessing equal authority exist one of which appears to have a wider bearing than the other, it is bound to adopt the more limited interpretation which can be made to harmonise with both versions and which, as far as it goes, is doubtless in accordance with the common intention of the Parties.