Hesperides Hotels Ltd and Another v Aegean Turkish Holidays Ltd and Another: CA 1978

An action was brought by the displaced owner of a hotel in Northern Cyprus taken over by the Turkish administration.
Held: The court declined to exercise an original jurisdiction in the northern part of Cyprus.
Lord Denning MR said that he would, if necessary, unhesitatingly hold that the courts of this country can recognise the laws or acts of a body which is in effective control of a territory even though it has not been recognised by the United Kingdom government de jure or de facto, ‘at any rate, in regard to the laws which regulate the day to day affairs of the people, such as their marriages, their divorces, their leases, their occupations, and so forth’.
However: ‘Underlying this case is a divergence of view between two autonomous administrations in Cyprus. The northern administration sets itself up as an administration entitled to pass laws requisitioning this property. The southern administration denies the claim and says that the requisitioning was unlawful. It is not the province of these courts to resolve such a dispute. It is a dispute which should be settled by negotiation between the two administrations, aided, we hope, by intermediaries of goodwill. It is indeed, we hope, being settled at this very moment by negotiations in Vienna. If a settlement is reached it should deal with all questions relating to the taking of property, compensation and so forth. But, whether it is settled or not, it is not for these courts to decide between these conflicting views. The dispute, in my view, is not justiciable here. The action should be struck out as not sustainable. I would allow the appeal accordingly.’
Roskill LJ stated: ‘The position in Cyprus, both on the Greek and on the Turkish side, is at the present juncture evolutionary and continues to evolve and develop. Delicate international negotiations have taken place and are about to continue. In those circumstances, for an English court to arrogate to itself the right at this juncture to determine questions of the right to possession of land in Cyprus by entertaining an action for conspiracy to trespass is something which in my view it ought not to do. Even if I am wrong in the view that the Mocambique [British South Africa Co v Companhia de Mocambique [1893] AC 602] principle applies, and even if I thought that our courts had jurisdiction and therefore a discretion whether or not to grant the injunction sought, in accordance with the principles recently laid down by the House of Lords in American Cyanamid v Ethicon Ltd. [1975] AC 396, I would not hesitate in the existing circumstances to exercise my discretion against granting the injunction sought.’


Lord Denning MR


[1978] 1 QB 205


England and Wales

Cited by:

Appeal fromHesperides Hotels Ltd v Aegean Turkish Holidays Ltd, Muftizahde HL 1978
No English action lay for trespass to a hotel on the island of Cyprus, but an action did lie for the conversion of the chattels present in that same hotel. Questions of comity might well be involved, and it had to be for Parliament to change the . .
CitedNorth Cyprus Tourism Centre Ltd and Another, Regina (on the Application Of) v Transport for London Admn 28-Jul-2005
The defendants had prevented the claimants from advertising their services in North Cyprus on their buses, and justified this saying that the Crown did not recognise the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus since it was the result of an unlawful . .
CitedLucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another SC 27-Jul-2011
The claimant had produced the Star War films which made use of props, in particular a ‘Stormtrooper’ helmet designed by the defendant. The defendant had then himself distributed models of the designs he had created. The appellant obtained judgment . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.230014