Document Type



Contractual Claims in International Law, 13 Columbia Law Review 457 (1913)


Diplomatic protection is often invoked by citizens of one country in cases arising out of contracts entered into with citizens of another, or with a foreign government. With the constant growth in international intercourse and the exploitation of backward countries by foreign capital, this class of cases has assumed large proportions and has given rise to many perplexing and delicate diplomatic situations. The foreign offices of some of the more important Governments have differentiated these claims from tortious claims arising out of direct injuries to the person or property of their citizens committed by an authority of the state, either by declining to interpose in behalf of their contracting citizens or else by exercising more careful scrutiny than ordinarily over a cause of action which has its origin in contract. Fundamentally it is the denial of justice' which is the necessary condition for the interposition of a government on behalf of its citizen prejudiced by breach of contract. Before a claim originating in a contract can, as a general rule, come within the category of a denial of justice, it must have been submitted to the courts for such judicial determination as is provided by the local law or in the contract. Until such submission, the government's right of interposition has not yet accrued. The qualifications of this principle we shall consider hereafter.

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International, contracts, foreign, government, capital, justice, loans, interest