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Herbert Whittaker Briggs was Professor of government and international law at Cornell University.

The Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited was a Canadian holding company incorporated in Toronto in 1911, which, through its various subsidiaries, supplied the major part of electricity requirements in Catalonia, Spain. The case was brought before the International Court of Justice for reparation for damage claimed to have been caused to a number of Belgian nationals, shareholders in the Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, by the conduct of various organs of the Spanish State in relation to that company and to other companies of its group.