Servaas Incorporated v Rafidain Bank and Others: ComC 14 Dec 2010

The claimant had supplied a factory to Iraq, but remained unpaid. Assets had been frozen in the respondent Iraqi bank, and with the new government, the liquidators were to pay assets to a fund who were, in turn to discharge debts pro rata. The appellant sought a third party debt order, but the respondent relied on section 13(4), saying that the buying in of the debts was a sovereign, and not a commercial, act, and it had certified it as such.
Held: The request was refused.
Arnold J said: ‘In my judgment SerVaas has no real prospect of successfully rebutting the presumption created by the Certificate for the reasons given by counsel for Iraq. In my view SerVaas’s argument wrongly conflates the transactions by which Iraq acquired the debts that are the subject of the Admitted Claims with the intended use of those assets. Iraq is not presently using those assets, but intends to pay the dividends on them to the DFI. That property is not being used to provide finance to Iraq, and it is immaterial that that property was acquired by means of bonds in the cases where the consideration took the form of bonds. Nor is the property being used or intended to be used for transactions ‘otherwise than in the exercise of sovereign authority’. Iraq has decided to transfer the distributions to the DFI in the exercise of its sovereign authority, albeit constrained in this respect by Resolution 1483, for the purposes set out in the resolution. I therefore conclude that Iraq’s Admitted Claims are entitled to immunity from execution by virtue of section 13(2)(b) of the 1978 Act.’

Arnold J
[2010] EWHC 3287 (Ch)
State Immunity Act 1978 13(4)
England and Wales
See AlsoServaas Inc v Rafidain Bank and Others ChD 14-Dec-2010
Application for third party debt order. . .

Cited by:
At Commercial CourtServaas Incorporated v Rafidain Bank and Others CA 3-Nov-2011
A commercial debt due to the claimant from the former Iraqi government, and for which judgment had been obtained in France, had been bought from receivers by the new Iraqi Development fund. The appellants sought to secure their judgment in full by a . .
At Commercial CourtSerVaas Incorporated v Rafidian Bank and Others SC 17-Aug-2012
The appellant had contracted to construct a factory in Iraq. On the imposition of sanctions, the respondent bank’s assets were frozen. The appellant sought to recover the sums due to it, and obtained judgment in France. After the fall of Hussain, . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, International, Commercial

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.427223