No. 19.
Mr. Lawton to Mr. Bayard.

[Extract.]
No. 19.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit translation of a note received from the ministry of foreign affairs in answer to an informal note [Page 21] which I addressed to Mr. de Szögyényi, chief of section at the ministry of foreign affairs, as to the right of foreigners to sue in the courts of the Empire in forma pauperis.

I have, etc.,

A. R. Lawton.
[Inclosure in No. 19.—Translation.]

Baron Pasetti to Mr. Lawton .

Sir: In compliance with the desire expressed in the esteemed note No. 7, under date of 19fch ultimo, respecting the right to sue in forma pauperis, the ministry of foreign affairs has addressed itself to the ministry of justice of both parts of the Empire, and now has the honor to communicate to the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, General Alexander R. Lawton, the regulations which are in force in this part of the Empire on the subject in question.

The laws in the countries represented in the reichsrath provide that persons without means be exempt from paying taxes and stamp duties in connection with lawsuits. In cases where the law requires that the parties be represented by lawyers, an attorney will be appointed by the members of the bar, and the appointment carries with it exemption from payment of fee and tax.

If the party to whom this privilege was granted subsequently comes into possession of means, the payment of the lawyer’s fee, of taxes, and of stamps, can be made from the amount realized by gaining the suit.

The poverty of the plaintiff is also taken into consideration in regard to securing the expenses of the defendant. While the plaintiff is bound to give security for the amount necessary to cover the expenses of the court, or to make oath that he is unable to give that security, the plaintiff, when once the right to sue in forma pauperis is conceded to him, is legally exempt from giving security for these expenses and also from giving oath.

As far as the persons are concerned to whom these benefits are granted, there is no law by which this privilege is made dependent upon Austrian citizenship, and for this reason the right of foreigners to sue in forma pauperis, unless coming under the provisions of special international treaties, is regulated by paragraph 33 of the general civil law, according to which foreigners as well as natives enjoy that privilege.

The above-mentioned paragraph reads as follows:

“Foreigners enjoy the same rights and have the same duties as native citizens, if not otherwise expressly provided that citizenship is a requisite for the enjoyment of such rights. Foreigners, in order to participate in this benefit, must, in cases of a doubtful nature, prove that the State of which they are citizens extends the same right to citizens of Austria.”

Special treaties touching the right to sue in forma pauperis have been concluded with France (treaty of May 15, 1870, R. G. B. No. 43, 1880), Belgium (treaty of July 19, 1880, R. G. B. No. 19, 1881), Servia (treaty of May 6, 1881, R. G. B. No. 88, 1882), Italy (treaty of February 9, 1883, R. G. B. No. 113), Switzerland (treaty of January 8, 1884, R. G. B. No. 137), and the German Empire (treaty of May 9, 1886, R. G. B. No. 22, 1887). These treaties, for the greater part of uniform text, agree to grant to the subjects of the contracting powers the same privileges conceded to their own subjects.

The imperial and royal ministry of foreign affairs will communicate to his excellency, the American minister, the provisions of the respective law which are in force in the countries of the Hungarian crown as soon as a reply has been received from the royal Hungarian minister of justice.

The undersigned avails, etc.

For the minister of foreign affairs.

M. Pasetti.