V v D

Docket NumberCase No. 247
Date10 juin 1926
CourtCourt of First Instance (Switzerland)
The Court of First Instance of Geneva.
Case No. 247

Immunities of Representatives Accredited to the League of Nations — Swiss Federal Decree of August, 1922.

The Facts.—This was an action by a woman for payment of maternity expenses, of damages on account of moral reparation, and of a maintenance allowance for a child conceived out of wedlock. The action was brought at a time when the child had not yet been born, and the plaintiff had been pregnant for six months. The defendant, the alleged father of the child, pleaded to the jurisdiction of the Swiss courts on the ground that, being a permanent delegate accredited to the League of Nations by a foreign State, he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The Ministère public submitted that the Court had no jurisdiction because—

(a) According to the Federal Decree of 21 August, 1922, permanent delegates to the League of Nations and their personnel enjoyed, on the same footing as officials of the first category of the Secretariat of the League, the privileges of exterritoriality accorded to the personnel of diplomatic missions accredited to Switzerland at Berne.

(b) The defendant not being, by virtue of his exterritoriality, legally domiciled at Geneva, the Court had no jurisdiction. The alternative jurisdiction envisaged in Article 312 of the Swiss Civil Code in regard to paternity suits, namely the jurisdiction determined by the domicile of the mother at the time of the birth of the child, did...

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