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Permanent Court of International Justice

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Français

Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain) (New Application: 1962)

Overview of the case

Belgium had ceased pursuing the aforementioned case on account of efforts to negotiate a friendly settlement. The negotiations broke down, however, and Belgium filed a new Application on 19 June 1962. The following March, Spain filed four preliminary objections to the Court’s jurisdiction, and on 24 July 1964 the Court delivered a Judgment dismissing the first two but joining the others to the merits. After the filing, within the time-limits requested by the Parties, of the pleadings on the merits and on the objections joined thereto, hearings were held from 15 April to 22 July 1969. Belgium sought compensation for the damage claimed to have been caused to its nationals, shareholders in the Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Ltd., as the result of acts contrary to international law said to have been committed by organs of the Spanish State. Spain, on the other hand, submitted that the Belgian claim should be declared inadmissible or unfounded. In a Judgment delivered on 5 February 1970, the Court found that Belgium had no legal standing to exercise diplomatic protection of shareholders in a Canadian company in respect of measures taken against that company in Spain. It also pointed out that the adoption of the theory of diplomatic protection of shareholders as such would open the door to competing claims on the part of different States, which could create an atmosphere of insecurity in international economic relations. Accordingly, and in so far as the company’s national State (Canada) was able to act, the Court was not of the opinion that jus standi was conferred on the Belgian Government by considerations of equity. The Court accordingly rejected Belgium’s claim.


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

Institution of proceedings

Application instituting proceedings (French version only)
(French version only)

19 June 1962
Available in:
French

Written proceedings

Memorial of the Belgian Government
(French version only)

30 October 1962
Available in:
French

Preliminary Objections submitted by the Spanish Government
(French version only)

15 March 1963
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
French

Observations and Submissions of the Belgian Government
(French version only)

14 August 1963
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1964/1

Minutes of the Public hearings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 11 March to 19 May and 24 July 1964, the President sir Percy Spender, presiding (Minutes and Annexes to the Minutes)
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1964/2

Annexes to the Minutes of the Public hearings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 16 April to 19 May 1964, the President sir Percy Spender, presiding (concluded)
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1969/1

Minutes of the Public hearings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 15 April to 14 May 1969 the President, M. Bustamante y Rivero, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1969/22

Minutes of the Public hearings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 20 May to 20 June 1960 the President, M. Bustamante y Rivero, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1969/45

Minutes of the Public hearings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 25 June to 22 July 1969 and 5 February 1970, the President, M. Bustamante y Rivero, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 7 August 1962

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

Order of 16 March 1963

Fixing of time-limit: Written Statement of observations and submissions on Preliminary Objections
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 28 July 1964

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

Order of 11 June 1965

Extension of time-limit: Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 12 January 1966

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

Order of 23 November 1966

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

Order of 12 April 1967

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

Order of 15 September 1967

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

Order of 24 May 1968

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

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1964/1

Summary of the Judgment of 24 July 1964
Available in:
English French

Summary 1970/1

Summary of the Judgment of 5 February 1970
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1963/3

20 March 1963
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Time-limit for the filing by Belgium of its Observations and Submissions on the Preliminary Objections presented by the Spanish Government
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/2

3 February 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - The hearings on the Preliminary Objections will begin on 11 March 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/4

11 March 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Representatives of the Parties at the hearings
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/5

11 March 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Hearing of 11 March 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/6

25 March 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Hearing of 11 to 25 March 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/7

24 April 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Hearing of 1 to 23 April 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/8

29 April 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Hearing of 27 to 29 April 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/10

19 May 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Hearing of 4 to 19 May 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/11

21 July 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - The Court will deliver its Judgment on the Preliminary Objections on 24 July 1964
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/12

24 July 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Judgment (Preliminary Objections)
Available in:
English French

Press release 1964/13

5 August 1964
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Time-limit for the filing of the Counter-Memorial of the Spanish Government
Available in:
English French

Press release 1965/12

11 June 1965
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company - Extension of the time-limit fixed for the filing of the Government of Spain
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

19 June 1962
Correspondence
Available in:
English French