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Permanent Court of International Justice

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Minquiers and Ecrehos (France v. United Kingdom)

Overview of the case

The Minquiers and Ecrehos are two groups of islets situated between the British island of Jersey and the coast of France. Under a Special Agreement between France and the United Kingdom, the Court was asked to determine which of the Parties had produced the more convincing proof of title to these groups of islets. After the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, in 1066, the islands had formed part of the Union between England and Normandy which lasted until 1204, when Philip Augustus of France conquered Normandy but failed to occupy the islands. The United Kingdom submitted that the islands then remained united with England and that this situation was placed on a legal basis by subsequent treaties between the two countries. France contended that the Minquiers and Ecrehos were held by France after 1204, and referred to the same medieval treaties as those relied on by the United Kingdom. In its Judgment of 17 November 1953, the Court considered that none of those treaties stated specifically which islands were held by the King of England or by the King of France. Moreover, what was of decisive importance was not indirect presumptions based on matters in the Middle Ages, but direct evidence of possession and the actual exercise of sovereignty. After considering this evidence, the Court arrived at the conclusion that the sovereignty over the Minquiers and Ecrehos belonged to the United Kingdom.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Rejoinder submitted by the Government of the French Republic
(French version only)

6 March 1953
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1953

Minutes of the Public Sittings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from September 17th to October 8th, and November 17th, 1953, the Vice-President, M. Guerrero, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 15 January 1952

Fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 26 June 1952

Fixing of time-limits: Reply and Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 27 August 1952

Extension of time-limits: Reply and Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 29 January 1953

Extension of time-limit: Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1953/2

Summary of the Judgment of 17 November 1953
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1951/57

14 December 1951
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - The United Kingdom and France submit to the Court a dispute which has arisen between them
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/16

10 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Representatives of the Parties at the sittings which will begin on Thursday, September 17th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/17

17 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 17th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/18

18 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 18th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/19

19 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearing of September 19th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/20

21 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 21st, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/21

22 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 21nd, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/22

23 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 23rd, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/23

24 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 24th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/24

28 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 28th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/25

29 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 29th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/26

30 September 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of September 30th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/27

2 October 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of October 2nd, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/28

3 October 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearing of October 3rd, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/29

5 October 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of October 5th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/30

6 October 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearing of October 6th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/31

7 October 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearing of October 7th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/32

8 October 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Hearings of October 8th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/38

12 November 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - The Court will pronounce its Judgment on Tuesday, November 17th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/40

17 November 1953
Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom) - Judgment
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

5 December 1951
Correspondence
Available in:
English French