Janah v Libya (Jurisdictional Points : State Immunity): EAT 4 Oct 2013

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, which were upheld by two separate ETs. They appealed on the basis that the plea of immunity denied them access to court to enforce their rights, relying upon the decisions of the ECtHR in Cudak v Lithuania and Sabeh el Leil v France to establish that this had been in breach of Art.6 ECHR. An argument that the judges (both of whom held there to have been such a breach) were wrong to hold that the State Immunity Act 1978, which provides for the immunity in UK law, could not be interpreted to permit the claims to proceed failed. A second argument, that to the extent the claims fell within the material scope of EU law the SIA should be disapplied, succeeded on the basis that although the HRA dealt with the approach of courts and tribunals to alleged breaches of the ECHR, the EU Charter was now recognised as applicable in the UK, and recognised general principles of fundamental importance to the EU where matters fell within the material scope of EU law. Art.47 of that Charter recognised the same principle as contained in Art.6 ECHR. The Tribunal was bound by EU law (following Kucukdevici and Aklagaren) to disapply domestic law in conflict with these principles even in a dispute between private litigants.
Permission to appeal was granted, since the matter would benefit from the consideration of a higher court.

Langstaff P J
[2013] UKEAT 0020 – 13 – 0410
England and Wales


Updated: 22 November 2021; Ref: scu.516757