Case Analysis- Chorzow Factory Case Germany v. Poland

  • Judgment given on :- “13th September, 1928”
  • Judges involved :- “Lord Finlay, Nyholm, Moore, de Bustamante, Altamira, Oda, Anzilotti, Pessôa,  Yovanovitch, Rabel, Ehrlich”
  • Citation: – “Factory at Chorzow (Germ. v. Pol.), 1927 P.C.I.J. (ser. A) No. 9 (July 26)”

This case is popularly known as “Chorzow Factory case”. In this case, there was a dispute between Germany & Poland, where Poland violated the terms of agreement and reparation was being paid to Germany by Poland. This case was decided by International Court of Justice (ICJ).

  • FACTS :-
  1. There was a dual agreement titled as Germano-Polish Convention on Upper Silesia “{Geneva Convention}” b/w Germany and Poland, where Germany agreed to transfer the control of Upper Silesia area to Poland (i.e.   Chorzow   and   Krolweskahuta).
  2. In agreement both the parties agreed that Poland would not forfeit any property of Germany.
  3. But Poland forfeited both the companies of Germany.
  4. “Germany demanded to Tribunal to the claim is allowed and Polish government be ordered to restore the companies and make any other reparation that the Court deems fit to fix and pay the costs of the action.”
  5. While the matter was still pending before the Tribunal, Germany approached the PCIJ.
  6. Issues :-

1. Whether the Permanent Court of International Justice have the jurisdiction to try the dispute? 

2. Whether there was any breach of agreement between Germany and Poland?

3. Whether there was any infringement of international obligation on Poland due to breaking of agreement between Germany and Poland?

  • Laws Applied :-
  1. Article 92 of the “Peace Treaty of Versailles.” 
  2. Article 23 of “Geneva Convention, 15th May 1922.”
  3. Article 36 of “International Court of Justice.”
  • Decision/Judgment :- In favour of Germany

1. “The Permanent Court of International Justice has the jurisdiction over the case.”

2. “Poland has violated this International agreement between Poland & Germany.”

3. “Poland is liable to repair any loss suffered by Germany due to forfeiture of the two Companies as they violated the Geneva Convention / International agreement and is liable to give compensation.”

  • Analysis :-
  1. If we talk about Article 36 of the statute, there it is written that “in the event of the dispute as to whether the court has jurisdiction or not, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the court.” Also it says that “in any legal dispute concerning the question of international law, or interpretation of treaty or convention, or any fact if breaches will breach an international obligation, the reparation has to be made up to the extent of such violation of obligation or the violating party has to indemnify the other party.”
  2. So, this solves our first issue i.e. the Permanent court of International Justice has the jurisdiction over the dispute.
  3. Article 6 of the Convention is as follows:
    “Poland may expropriate in Polish Upper Silesia in conformity with the provisions of Articles 7 to 23 undertakings belonging to the category of major industries including mineral deposits and rural estates. Except as provided in these clauses, the property, rights and interests of German nationals or of companies controlled by German nationals may not be liquidated in Polish Upper Silesia.”

Article 23 is as follows:-

  • “Should differences of opinion respecting the construction and application of Articles 6 to 22 arise between the German and Polish Governments, they shall be submitted to the Permanent Court of International Justice.”
  • “The jurisdiction of the Germano-Polish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal derived from the stipulations of the Treaty of Peace of Versailles shall not thereby be prejudiced.”
  • It means that whether the civil tribunal had already given the judgment or not is immaterial; the party can seek the relief from ICJ. Also Article 6 of Geneva Convention says that rights and interest of German nationals can’t be liquidated in Polish Upper Silesia. Also as per Article 297 of Peace Treaty of Versailles the general rights and interest of German nationals can’t be liquidated irrespective of any treaty or convention between Germany and Poland. So, it satisfies the second legal issue that Poland has violated the international obligation towards Germany. Also Article 23 of the convention says that any relief application between the German and Polish government can also be submitted to ICJ.
  • Article 92 of Peace Treaty of Versailles :-

“If it is found that conditions of sale taken by Polish government are outside the legislation, then it is on the tribunal’s discretion to award the owner compensation.”

  • Germany is entitled for compensation or reparation arising out of the damages caused by Poland. Germany is entitled to compensation for all of the damages as well as for lost profits.

The judgment given by International law in this case was logical and satisfactory in my opinion, as Article 36 of the statute was very appropriately interpreted and it legally justifies the judgment and even the jurisdiction. Also, The Permanent Court of International Justice has so correctly interpreted the municipal laws with the subject matter of international laws. Also, it is a very general notion of International law that if there is any violation of obligation between two states it calls for reparation.



Akshita Mathur

Amity Law School, Noida

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