Korea National Insurance Company v Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty Ag: ComC 18 Nov 2008

The claimant sought to enforce a judgment for payment of a sum under a policy of insurance. The defendant sought to refuse saying that the policy had been instigated by a fraud perpetrated by the state of North Korea, and or that the judicial system under which the judgment was obtained was not independent of the the state against whom the fraud was alleged and was therefore unenforcable.
Held: ‘The investigation into and adjudication on the Reinsurers’ allegations that the N Korean State, under the guiding mind, inter alios, of the Dear Leader, fraudulently procured the N K judgement and that this was of a piece with and is to be inferred from many other criminal acts committed by the N Korean State has an obvious potential for embarrassing the foreign relations between Her Majesty’s Government and the Government of N Korea.’ and ‘the doctrines of act of state and non-justiciability are not subject to agreement by the parties. If the parties do not take the point, the court should take it of its own motion.’ Those parts of the Reinsurers’ fraud defence that allege that the State of N Korea procured the N K judgement by fraud and that: (i) it is to be inferred that KNIC knew of the fraud because it is part of the State of N Korea and that state, through a directing mind or minds, directed or approved of the Underlying Fraud; and (b) the Underlying Fraud is to be inferred from other acts of state criminality committed by the State of N Korea, are non-justiciable and should be struck out.


Filed J


[2008] EWHC 2829 (Comm)




England and Wales


CitedOetjen v Central Leather Co 1918
(US Supreme Court) Animal hides were seized and sold to satisfy a monetary assessment to support the revolution, and there was an issue of title between an assignee from the original owner and a person deriving his claim to title from the purchaser . .
CitedPrincess Paley Olga v Wiesz CA 1929
The Court considered a seizure of property from the plaintiff which had then been adopted by the Russian Government and a later confiscation decree.
Held: The decree was effective to vest the goods in the Russian authorities and the adopted . .
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 . .
CitedFirst National City Bank v Banco Nacional de Cuba 7-Jun-1972
(United States Supreme Court) The court worried about just how much confusion can result from executive encroachment on issues of justiciability and that executive interference would lead to arbitrary results as ‘the Court becomes a mere errand boy . .
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 . .
CitedKuwait Airways Corporation v Iraqi Airways Company (Conjoined Appeals 4 and 5) CA 10-Nov-2000
If a foreign made law was in breach of clearly established international law, then an English court should not recognise it. To do otherwise would be contrary to public policy. An interference with goods pursuant to such a law was actionable in . .
CitedJayaretnam v Mahood and Others 21-May-1992
The court set aside an order which had granted leave to serve libel proceedings outside the jurisdiction on the ground that the court was precluded by principles of judicial restraint from embarking on an enquiry into the plaintiff’s grounds for . .
CitedSkrine and Co (a Firm) and others v Euromoney Publications plc and others QBD 10-Nov-2000
The court was asked to strike out parts of a defemation pleading alleging that (i) the Malaysian Prime Minister had acted in a manner intended and/or calculated to interfere with the independent judiciary; (ii) Malaysian judges applied the law of . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromKorea National Insurance Corp (KNIC) v Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality Ag CA 2-Dec-2008
The insurance company appealed against refusal of the court to decline to enforce a judgment entered against it by the courts of North Korea. It had argued that the insurance policy had been obtained by fraud of the NK government, and that the court . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Insurance, International

Updated: 21 July 2022; Ref: scu.278855