Twycross v Dreyfus: CA 1877

State immunity is not to be got around by suing the employees of the state. Here, the only possible case was against the state itself.
Sir George Jessel MR said: ‘the municipal law of this country does not enable the tribunals of this country to exercise any jurisdiction over foreign governments as such. Nor, so far as I am aware, is there any international tribunal which exercises any such jurisdiction. The result, therefore, is that these so-called bonds amount to nothing more than engagements of honour, binding, so far as engagements of honour can bind, the government which issues them, but are not contracts enforceable before the ordinary tribunals of any foreign government . . without the consent of the government of that country.’


Sir George Jessel MR


(1877) LR 5 Ch D 605


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedJones 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 . .
CitedNML Capital Ltd v Argentina SC 6-Jul-2011
The respondent had issued bonds but in 2001 had declared a moratorium on paying them. The appellant hedge fund later bought the bonds, heavily discounted. Judgment was obtained in New York, which the appellants now sought to enforce against assets . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

International, Jurisdiction

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.242889