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Civil Claims

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now make a statement on the constitution, procedure and personnel of the panel which is to consider, civil claims against the British authorities in the British zone of Germany.

As the answer is long, I will with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for what is evidently a satisfactory and decisive answer, may I ask if it indicates that this procedure will come into force pretty soon, because there are a number of cases pending?

Following is the answer:

The panel will consist of representatives of the Control Commission and of the British Army of the Rhine, with a German lawyer to advise on the German legal principles involved. It will be empowered to deal with claims for personal and material damage caused by watercraft, vehicles and aircraft of the occupying authorities, for injury to life, body or health through negligence, maltreatment or force, for violation of unrequisitioned property and for irregular demands for goods or services. Claims must be lodged with the burgomaster of the community where the alleged irregular action occurred within three months of the incident, or before 1st October, 1947, whichever is the later. Except for certain minor cases which will be sent direct to the appropriate German authorities, all admissible claims will be forwarded by the burgomaster to the claims panel for determination of all questions of responsibility in accordance with German law. Where it is found that responsibility attaches to a member or employee of the occupying authorities, the case will be transmitted to the appropriate German authority for the assessment of compensation and payment from German funds. The decision reached will in all cases be notified to the burgomaster from whom the claim was received.