Haile Selassie v Cable and Wireless (UK) 1938

Haile Selassie v Cable and Wireless (UK) 1938


There is no major difference between de jure and de facto recognition.


As a result of a contract between the defendant company and the Director General of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones of Ethiopia, a sum of money become due from the defendants to the public revenues of Ethiopia.

In the court of first instance it was decided that although Ethiopia was overrun by Italy, the emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, as the recognized de jure sovereign, still possessed the right to sue for the money although Italy was recognized as de facto. The defendants appealed and while the appeal was pending, Great Britain granted de jure recognition to the occupying force of Italy as emperor of Ethiopia.


  1. Which recognized govt. would get preference?
  2. Who was entitled to sue on behalf of Ethiopia in the British court?


The court of appeal allowed the appeal and dismissed the claim holding that Heile Selassie is no longer the de jure govt. or de jure sovereign of Ethiopia and therefore, his claim had to be dismissed.


Recognition is retrospective in effect and therefore the right of succession dated back to the date of the de facto recognition of the king of Haley as sovereign of Ethiopia to the second half of the due 1936.

Since de facto recognition took place before the issue of the writ in the lab our court (on January 4, 1938) the plaintiff’s claim fails and had to be dismissed.

Rayhanul Islam

Legal activist & Practitioner - Editor - Researcher - Learner; A person who uses Logic & Law as his tool. He is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He promotes legal knowledge and human right concept to the root level. e-mail: rayhan@lawhelpbd.com

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