Certain Norwegian Loans (France v. Norway)
OVERVIEW OF THE CASE
Certain Norwegian loans had been floated in France between 1885 and 1909. The bonds securing them stated the amount of the obligation in gold, or in currency convertible into gold, as well as in various national currencies. From the time when Norway suspended the convertibility of its currency into gold — on several occasions after 1914 — the loans had been serviced in Norwegian kroner. The French Government, espousing the cause of the French bondholders, filed an Application requesting the Court to declare that the debt should be discharged by payment of the gold value of the coupons of the bonds on the date of payment and of the gold value of the redeemed bonds on the date of repayment. The Norwegian Government raised a number of preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and, in the Judgment it delivered on 6 July 1957, the Court found that it was without jurisdiction to adjudicate on the dispute. Indeed, the Court held that, since its jurisdiction depended upon the two unilateral declarations made by the Parties, jurisdiction was conferred upon the Court only to the extent to which those declarations coincided in conferring it. The Norwegian Government, which had considered the dispute to fall entirely within its national jurisdiction, was therefore entitled, by virtue of the condition of reciprocity, to invoke in its own favour, and under the same conditions, the reservation contained in the French declaration which excluded from the jurisdiction of the Court differences relating to matters which were “essentially within the national jurisdiction as understood by the Government of the French Republic”.
This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.