This is an extract of our Princess Olga V. Weisz document, which we sell as part of our Conflict of Laws BCL Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.
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PRINCESS OLGA V. WEISZ FACTS Princess Olga Paley was married to the Grand Duke Paul of Russia without the consent of the Tsar. The marriage being, therefore, morganatic, she did not become a member of the Romanoff family. This result saved her property from being confiscated under a Russian Decree confiscating the property in Russia of members of that family. The Princess had in 1917 at her house in Tsarskoe Selo, near St. Petersburg, or Petrograd, afterwards Leningrad, a quantity of valuable furniture and works of art, admittedly her property. In 1928 she discovered this property in England, and issued a writ claiming it against the persons in possession of it. They replied that they or their principals had bought that property from the Government, who, in 1924, had been recognized by the British Government as the de jure Government of Russia, and as the de facto Government in 1918 or the end of 1917. That Russian Government had, in the contract of sale, described the property as "nationalized property"; and the Russian Government claimed, and the defendants alleged, that by the law of Russia the goods claimed were the property of the Russian Government. They did so for two reasons which the judge below has held to be valid. The first is by the Decree of March 18, 1923 (No. 245), of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and of the Council of People's Commissaries, s. 5 of which is relevant: "Works of art, antiques, and articles of historical interest being in museums and depositories, as forming part of the Museum Fund and being safeguarded by State means, are recognised to be State property." The second title in the Russian Government alleged by the defendants is under s. 1 of Decree No. 111 of the Council of People's Commissaries, signed by Lenin as chairman of that body. That section reads: There is declared "the property of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic all the moveable property of citizens fled outside the confines of the Republic, or hiding themselves up to the present time, and of whatever consisting, and wherever situated." HOLDING SCRUTTON LJ Being the property of the Russian State, the Russian Government has sold them; and I can find nothing in the Russian Decrees enabling their former owner to complain in these or any Courts of the sale by the Russian Government. The second title in the Russian Government alleged by the defendants is under s. 1 of Decree No. 111 of the Council of
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