Pious Fund of the Californias

Date of Award: 14 October 1902

Emblem of the Permanent Court of ArbitrationThis dispute arose between the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico in 1902 when the latter refused to abide by the arbitral award of 1875 after it was amended. The award had ordered Mexico to pay the Catholic Church of California the interest on the capital of funds organised in the 17th century to benefit the Church. The U.S. claimed on the behalf of the Church the remaining instalments of the interest payments. It argued that the earlier award had been decisively established and its amount and interest fixed by res judicata [“matter already judged”]. Mexico refuted this claim. The Governments submitted the dispute to arbitration.

The Tribunal held in favour of the U.S. that its claim was governed by the principle of res judicata which applied to the international arbitration in the same manner as it applied to the judgments of national courts. It ordered Mexico to both extinguish the accrued debt and continue to pay the annual allowance in perpetuity.

Award of the Tribunal, 14 October 1902

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