• Robert Spicer

New Employment Law Cases On State And Diplomatic Immunity

Right to fair trial

State immunity

Case Benkharbouche v Embassy of the Republic of Sudan [2013] IRLR 918, EAT

Statute reference State Immunity Act 1978, ss. 4, 16: European Convention on Human Rights, Art 6; Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Art 47

Facts B was a cook at the Sudanese embassy in London. J was employed at the Libyan embassy. They made a number of claims to an employment tribunal. The employers pleaded state immunity. This was accepted by the ET. B and J appealed to the EAT on the basis that the plea of state immunity denied them access to court to enforce their rights.

Decision 1. The appeal was allowed.

2. The State Immunity Act 1978 should be disapplied where it conflicted with the EU Charter.

Right to fair trial

Diplomatic immunity

Case Al-Malki and another v Reyes and another [2013] IRLR 929, EAT

Statute reference Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964; European Convention on Human Rights, Art 6

Facts R and S were employed by A, who was a member of the diplomatic staff of the Saudi Arabian mission in London. They brought claims against A in the ET. The ET accepted R and S’s argument that A’s reliance on diplomatic immunity denied them the right of access to a court or tribunal. A appealed to the EAT.

Decision 1. The appeal was allowed.

2. The ET had failed to adequately identify and express the underlying rationale for a plea of diplomatic immunity. It had wrongly considered that the seriousness of the claims was relevant in considering proprortionality.

3. the assertion of diplomatic immunity had not been a breach of Article 6, ECHR.

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