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 involved personally. The court had been correct to reject the claim against the state. Despite other developments, states still enjoyed immunity from such claims, and normally its officials should receive the same protection, and even if the official had infringed the country’s national law. However claims against officials could not be given blanket protection, because that would deprive applicants such as the present of any remedy. A delicate balancing act would be required in each case to test the various issues of jurisdiction and human rights. However the offence of torture itself had a special status under international law, and such acts could not be the acts of a state. Claims to state immunity should be resolved at an early stage in the proceedings.


Mance LJ


[2004] EWCA Civ 1394, Times 01-Nov-2004, [2005] 2 WLR 808




England and Wales


CitedAksionairnoye Obschestvo A M Luther v James Sagor and Co CA 1921
A claim was made as to property seized by a decree of Russian revolutionaries later recognised as the government.
Held: A court is required to recognise a foreign state’s dealings with private proprietary rights within its jurisdiction. An . .
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: . .
CitedRahimtoola v Nizam of Hyderabad HL 1957
A claim was made against the former High Commissioner for Pakistan personally for money had and received. He established that he had received the money in England in his official capacity as High Commissioner.
Held: Appeal allowed. The . .
CitedPrincess Paley Olga v Weisz 1929
English courts will refrain from examining the validity of foreign executive action relating to matters within the territorial jurisdiction of the foreign state. . .
CitedOppenheimer v Cattermole (Inspector of Taxes) HL 5-Feb-1975
HL Income tax, Schedule D – Foreign possessions – Double taxation relief – German government pension for past services – Paid to British subject of German origin – Whether German nationality deemed to be retained . .
CitedButtes Gas and Oil Co v Hammer (No 3) HL 1981
In a defamation action, issues arose as to two conflicting oil concessions which neighbouring states in the Arabian Gulf had granted over their territorial and offshore waters. The foreign relations of the United Kingdom and Iran were also involved . .
CitedChurch of Scientology 1978
(German Supreme Court) A claim to immunity by the defendant (the ‘Head of New Scotland Yard’) was not ‘derived from his person’, but was based on the fact that the act on which the claimant sued was ‘a sovereign act of State which can only be . .
CitedHerbage v Meese 1990
(US) A claim was brought against British police officers and prosecuting counsel for knowingly and falsely stating, in the context of extradition proceedings against the claimant, that the United States had made a valid ‘provisional request’ for his . .
CitedRegina 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. . .
CitedPropend Finance Property Ltd and Others v Sing and Another CA 17-Apr-1997
Diplomatic immunity had not been waived by an Australian policeman acting in breach of a court undertaking re documents. The effect of s14(1) was to give state officials protection ‘under the same cloak’ as the state itself: ‘The protection afforded . .
CitedAl-Adsani v Government of Kuwait and Others (No 2) CA 29-Mar-1996
The claimant alleged that he had suffered torture in a security prison in Kuwait, and he obtained leave to serve out of the jurisdiction on the Government of Kuwait, and on three individuals, one of whom at least was served, on the ground that he . .
CitedJaffe v Miller 1993
(Ontario Court of Appeal) Florida state officials were sued for alleged conspiracy maliciously to prosecute and to kidnap and detain the claimant, in order to blackmail him into giving up a civil suit.
Held: It is the character of the act, . .

Cited by:

CitedOccidental Exploration and Production Company vRepublic of Ecuador CA 9-Sep-2005
The parties had arbitrated their dispute in London under a bilateral investment treaty between the US and Ecuador. The republic sought to appeal the arbitration. The applicant now appealed an order that the English High Court had jurisdiction to . .
CitedAlamieyeseigha, Regina (on the Application Of) v Crown Prosecution Service Admn 25-Nov-2005
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 . .
Appeal fromJones v Ministry of Interior for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and others HL 14-Jun-2006
The claimants said that they had been tortured by Saudi police when arrested on false charges. They sought damages, and appealed against an order denying jurisdiction over the defendants. They said that the allegation of torture allowed an exception . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Personal Injury, Police, International

Updated: 12 April 2022; Ref: scu.219138