Bedrijfsgroep Bouw- en Aardewerkambachten v Vonck

Date13 Febrero 1947
Docket NumberCase No. 114
CourtCantonal Court (Netherlands)
Holland, Cantonal Court, Groningen.
Case No. 114
Bedrijfsgroep Bouw- en Aardewerkambachten The Hague

Belligerent Occupation — Enemy Legislation in Occupied Territory — Validity under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations of 1907 — Cessation of Effects after Liberation of Occupied Territory — Ex post Ratification by Legal Government — Postliminium — Binding Force of Executive Acts of National Officials under Enemy Control — Occupation of Holland by Germany — Nazification of Public Life in Holland — Attitude of Ordinary Dutch Courts.

The Facts.—A short survey of the juridical development in Holland from May 1940 to May 1945, given in Annual Digest, 1919–1942 (Supplementary Volume), Case No. 161, showed that the attitude of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands during the German occupation led to its temporary elimination. Moreover, by an Emergency Decree of the Queen, of December 23, 1944, appeal to the Supreme Court was temporarily prohibited. That ban was lifted, as from September 1, 1945, by a Decree of October 1, 1945. The Court was then, again, called upon to consider the legal validity of the German occupation ordinances.

In 1942 the Supreme Court had taken the view that it was not within the competence of the Courts of an occupied country to test the ordinances of the occupant in the light of international law. It had held, further, that for legal purposes such ordinances, however objectionable their contents might be, must be placed on an equal footing with the Netherlands Constitution, laws and ordinances.

In order to avoid legal chaos after the liberation of Holland the Netherlands Government in London enacted a Decree on Occupation Measures, dated September 17, 1944 (Official Journal, No. E 93). In that Decree they attempted, without knowing the contents of the numerous occupation regulations which were not published in the German Verordnungsblatt, to lay down provisional rules relating to these regulations. German Ordinances were divided into four groups, viz.: A. Those which must be held never to have had any validity. These included the anti-Jewish ordinances. B. Those which became inoperative as from the liberation. C. Those which, for purely practical reasons, were temporarily maintained in force. D. All others, i.e., a small number published in the German Verordnungsblatt and the majority of those not published in it. The operation of these was provisionally suspended pending a final decision. Legal difficulties arose particularly...

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