The defendant argued that as Governor and Chief Excecutive of Bayelsa State in Nigeria he had sovereign immunity. The Foreign Office had issued a certificate that the defendant was not a Head of States under the 1978 Act. The A-G of Bayelsa had certified that the defendant was a head of State but the A-G of Nigeria certified that he was not, and also that the A-G of Bayelsa was an accomplice in the transactions underlying the charge.
Held: The claim for sovereign immunity failed. ‘Immunity from criminal proceedings is dealt with in section 20(1) of the 1978 Act, which applies immunity for criminal proceedings to ‘a sovereign or other head of State’ the Nigerian courts themselves had denied the status of the state of Bayelsa as a sovereign state. It would only rarely be appropriate to regard a sub-state is entitled to immunity.
 EWHC 2704 (Admin), Times 16-Jan-2006
Cited – Jones v Ministry of Interior Al-Mamlaka Al-Arabiya As Saudiya Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Another CA 28-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages alleging torture by the respondent whilst held in custody in Saudi Arabia.
Held: Although the state enjoyed freedom from action, where the acts were ones of torture, and action could proceed against state officials . .
Cited – Regina v Bartle and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte; Regina v Evans and Similar (No 3) HL 24-Mar-1999
An application to extradite a former head of state for an offence which was not at the time an offence under English law would fail, but could proceed in respect of allegations of acts after that time. No immunity was intended for heads of state. . .
Cited – Mellenger v New Brunswick Development Corporation CA 1971
An entity which is constituted in such a way that its purpose is to assist, promote and advance the industrial development, prosperity and economic welfare of the area in which it operates, can be seen as effectively carrying out government policy . .
Cited – Bank of Credit and Commerce International (Overseas) Ltd (In Liqidation) and Others v Price Waterhouse and Others, Abu Dhabi Etc ChD 25-Jun-1997
A banker disclosing information about a customer’s business affairs save under lawful requirement, would commit a criminal offence. The head of a member of a Federation, the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, was not entitled to immunity while the President of the . .
Cited – Sayce v Ameer Ruler Sadig Mohommed Abbasi Bahawalpur State CA 1952
The court upheld a decision that the defendant was the ruler of Bahawalpur State which had been an independent state prior to the passing of the Indian Independence Act 1947 and the accession of that State to the Dominion of Pakistan. It was . .
Cited – Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v Belgium) (2000-2002) ICJ 14-Feb-2002
‘In customary international law, the immunities accorded to Ministers for Foreign Affairs are not granted for their personal benefit, but to ensure the effect of the performance of their functions on behalf of their respective States. In order to . .
Cited – Statham and Statham v Gaekwar of Baroda 1892
The certificate of the Secretary of State confirmed the state immunity of the defendant. . .
Cited – Government of the Republic of Spain v SS ‘Arantzazu Mendi’ HL 1939
The House considered the weight to be given to a certificate as to a statement by HM government as to the recognition of the defendant as a sovereign state: ‘Our State cannot speak with two voices on such a matter, the judiciary saying one thing, . .
Cited – Duff Development Company Limited v Government of Kelantan HL 1924
In a case of any uncertainty as to the diplomatic status of a defendant, a Secretary of State should be asked for the necessary information. The House considered a certificate of recognition provided for the defendant: ‘It is the duty of the Court . .
Cited – Mighell v Sultan of Johore CA 1-Dec-1893
In 1885 the Sultan of Johore came to England, and according to the plaintiff, Miss Mighell, took the name Albert Baker and promised to marry her.
Held: The Sultan was entitled to immunity even though up to the time of suit ‘he has perfectly . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 31 January 2022; Ref: scu.235340