Benkharbouche v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: SC 18 Oct 2017

The court was asked as to the compatibility of provisions in the 1978 Act with the human rights of the appellant. The claimants, Moroccan nationals were employed as domestic staff in embassies in London. They alleged both race discrimination and breach of the 1998 Regulations, saying that the statutory exemption of the Embassies from liability infringed their human rights in Convention and EU law. The Foreign Secretary, on behalf of the embassies now appealed a finding that the provision was an infringement of the workers’ human rights.
Held: The appeals failed.
Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption
[2017] UKSC 62, [2017] 3 WLR 957, [2017] WLR(D) 691, UKSC 2015/0063
Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD, SC, SC Summary, SC Summary video, SC Video * Jun 17 pm, SC Vid 6/6/17 pm, SC Vid 7/6/17 am, SC Vid 7/6/17 pm, SC Vid 8/6/17 am
State Immunity Act 1978, European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, Working Time Regulations 1998
England and Wales
Citing:
At EATBenkharbouche v Embassy of The Republic of Sudan (Jurisdictional Points : State Immunity) EAT 4-Oct-2013
EAT STATE IMMUNITY
A cook at the Sudanese embassy, and a member of the domestic staff of the Libyan embassy, both made claims arising out of their employment. They were met with pleas of State Immunity, . .
At CABenkharbouche and Another v Embassy of The Republic of Sudan CA 5-Feb-2015
The claimant had been an employee of a foreign diplomatic mission. He said that he was not debarred by the 1978 Act from bringing claims for unfair dismissal and breach of working time regulations, saying that any exemption would infringe his human . .
CitedCompania Naviera Vascongado v Steamship ‘Cristina’ HL 1938
A state-owned ship that was used for public purposes could not be made the subject of proceedings in rem. Lord Atkin described the absolute immunity of a sovereign of a foreign state within this jurisdiction: ‘The foundation for the application to . .
CitedThe Owners of The Ship Philippine Admiral (Philippine Flag) v Wellem Shipping (Hong Kong) Limited and Another PC 5-Nov-1975
(Hong Kong) Sovereign immunity was denied to state trading ships, restricting the extent of state immunity. . .
CitedTrendtex Trading Corporation v Central Bank of Nigeria CA 1977
The court considered the developing international jurisdiction over commercial activities of state bodies which might enjoy state immunity, and sought to ascertain whether or not the Central Bank of Nigeria was entitled to immunity from suit.
CitedGolder v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1975
G was a prisoner who was refused permission by the Home Secretary to consult a solicitor with a view to bringing libel proceedings against a prison officer. The court construed article 6 of ECHR, which provides that ‘in the determination of his . .
CitedAlcom Ltd v Republic of Colombia HL 1984
A bank account used to cover the day-to-day expenses of an Embassy, clearly served sovereign purposes and therefore was immune from enforcement measures. The Act of 1978 must be read against the background of customary international law current in . .
CitedAshingdane v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-May-1985
The right of access to the courts is not absolute but may be subject to limitations. These are permitted by implication since the right of access ‘by its very nature calls for regulation by the State, regulation which may vary in time and place . .
CitedMarkovic and Others v Italy ECHR 14-Dec-2006
The applicants were relatives of persons who had been killed in the NATO air-raid on Belgrade in 1999. The raid was said to be an act of war in violation of international law. It had been launched from bases in Italy. The Corte de Cassazione had . .
CitedFayed v United Kingdom ECHR 6-Oct-1994
The Secretary of State had appointed inspectors to investigate and report on a company takeover. In their report, which was published, the inspectors made findings which were critical of and damaging to the applicants, who relied on the civil limb . .
CitedRoche v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Oct-2005
(Grand Chamber) The claimant had been exposed to harmful chemicals whilst in the Army at Porton Down in 1953. He had wished to claim a service pension on the basis of the ensuing personal injury, but had been frustrated by many years of the . .
CitedMcElhinney v Ireland; Al-Adsani v United Kingdom; Fogarty v United Kingdom ECHR 21-Nov-2001
Grand Chamber – The first applicant said he had been injured by a shot fired by a British soldier who had been carried for two miles into the Republic of Ireland, clinging to the applicant’s vehicle following an incident at a checkpoint.
Held: . .
CitedWaite and Kennedy v Germany ECHR 18-Feb-1999
The grant of immunity from the jurisdiction of the national court to an international organisation according to a long-standing practice essential for ensuring the proper functioning of these organisations free from unilateral interference by . .
CitedHolland v Lampen-Wolfe HL 20-Jul-2000
The US established a base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, and provided educational services through its staff to staff families. The claimant a teacher employed at the base alleged that a report on her was defamatory. The defendant relied on state . .
CitedHolland v Lampen-Wolfe HL 20-Jul-2000
The US established a base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, and provided educational services through its staff to staff families. The claimant a teacher employed at the base alleged that a report on her was defamatory. The defendant relied on state . .
CitedSabeh El Leil v France ECHR 29-Jun-2011
Grand Chamber – The applicant alleged that he had been deprived of his right of access to a court as a result of the immunity from jurisdiction upheld by the domestic courts.
This was a claim for unfair dismissal, brought before the French . .
CitedCudak v Lithuania ECHR 23-Mar-2010
Grand Chamber – The applicant alleged that there had been a violation of her right of access to a court, as guaranteed by Article 6-1 of the Convention.
The applicant was a secretary and switchboard operator employed in the Polish embassy in . .
CitedWallishauser v Austria (No 2) ECHR 20-Jun-2013
. .
CitedRadunovic And Others v Montenegro ECHR 25-Oct-2016
. .
CitedCase Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v United States) ICJ 1986
The prohibition on the use of force in article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter was accepted as jus cogens, a universally recognised principle of international law. . .

Cited by:
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 March 2021; Ref: scu.597258