Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc v Maclaine Watson and Co Ltd and International Tin Council (Intervener) (No. 2): HL 1988

Article 7(1) of the International Tin Council (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1972 provided that the ITC ‘shall have the like inviolability of official archives as in accordance with the 1961 Convention Articles is accorded in respect of the official archives of a diplomatic mission’. In the litigation which arose out of its insolvent collapse, the ITC sought to prevent the use in litigation of documents which it claimed were part of its official archives. document: had come into the possession of third parties which had either been stolen from ITC premises or illicitly copied there or obtained by bribery or deceit of its staff. The issue ultimately turned upon the actual or ostensible authority of those who had supplied documents in that category to third parties.
Held: The documents were supplied with the authority of the ITC.
Lord Bridge of Harwich considered articles 24 and 27.2 of the Vienna Convention, saying: ‘Mr Kentridge presented a forceful argument for the defendants based on the proposition that the only protection which the status of inviolability conferred by Article 24 of the Vienna Convention and Article 7(1) of the Order of 1972 affords is against executive or judicial action by the host state. Hence, it was submitted, even if a document was stolen, or otherwise obtained by improper means, from a diplomatic mission, inviolability could not be relied on to prevent the thief or other violator from putting it in evidence, but the mission would be driven to invoke some other ground of objection to its admissibility. I need not examine this argument at length. I reject it substantially for the reasons given by the Court of Appeal. The underlying purpose of the inviolability conferred is to protect the privacy of diplomatic communications. If that privacy is violated by a citizen, it would be wholly inimical to the underlying purpose that the judicial authorities of the host state should countenance the violation by permitting the violator, or anyone who receives the document from the violator, to make use of the document in judicial proceedings.’

Lord Bridge of Harwich
[1988] 1 WLR 16
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 24 27, International Tin Council (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1972
England and Wales
At First InstanceMaclaine Watson and Co Ltd v International Tin Council ChD 1987
Millett J said: ‘The ITC contend there is no jurisdiction to make such an order [an order for discovery of assets] in the absence of a Mareva injunction. It is, however, fallacious to reason from the fact that an order for discovery can be made as . .

Cited by:
CitedBancoult, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Admn 11-Jun-2013
The claimant, displaced from the Chagos Archipelago, challenged a decision by the respondent to create a no-take Marine Protected Area arround the island which would make life there impossible if he and others returned. The respondent renewed his . .
CitedBancoult, Regina (on The Application of) (No 3) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 8-Feb-2018
Diplomatic Protection Lost to Public Domain
The claimant challenged the use of a Marine Protected Area Order to exclude the Chagossians from their homelands on their British Indian Overseas Territory. They had sought to have admitted and used in cross examination of witnesses leaked . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Litigation Practice, Evidence

Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.510791