The Arantzazu Mendi Case (UK) 1939

The Arantzazu Mendi Case (UK) 1939


When there is effective control over the territory of a government of de facto (recognition) a foreign court can not apply its jurisdiction over its matter.


Arantzazu Mendi was a Spanish ship which was registered under the Bilbao area of Spain. In 1936 there was a civil war in Spain between two-party the Republics and the Nationalists. Nationalists were under the comment of General Franco. The UK recognized de jure the Republican government of Spain, on the other hand, they also recognized de facto the rebel government (the Nationalists). Slowly General Franco overtook many areas including Bilbao and at that time the Republics nationalized all the (Registered) ships of that area. At that time the ship Arantzazu Mendi was anchored at a port of UK. The De Facto Nationalist government of Spain who was recognized by UK appeal to the UK that as The United Kingdom gave them the legal recognition the Arantzazu Mendi ship legally belongs to the Nationalist government and therefor UK should cease the ship and handover to the Nationalist government.

The Arantzazu Mendi Case

The Arantzazu Mendi Case


Whether the republican government shall have the right to possess the ship?


It was held: A de facto government has control over state assets within the territory it controls. A de jure government has control even overstate assets abroad.


It was held by the House of Lords that since the Nationalist was a de-facto recognized sovereign ineffective contract over a large portion of Spain, it was immune from the jurisdiction of the local courts of other sovereigns.

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Advocate Rayhanul Islam is the founder and Editor in Chief of Law Help BD. He is also a researcher. Critical thinking is his main focus. He is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He promotes legal knowledge and human rights concept to the root level. e-mail: [email protected]

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