UCL Faculty of Laws


Recent developments in the law of state immunity: Benkharbouche in the Court of Appeal

25 March 2015, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Global Business

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UCL Faculty of Laws


UCL Faculty of Laws, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG


  • Professor Piet Eeckhout (UCL)
  • Dr Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL)
  • Dr Alex Mills (UCL)
  • Professor Roger O’Keefe (UCL)


Dr Martins Paparinskis (UCL)

About the talk

This discussion will address the recent judgment in the Benkharbouche case and its impact on the law of State immunity. In its February judgment, the Court of Appeal dealt with an important and contested legal issue regarding the manner in which the law of State immunity and the right to fair trial under international law of human rights law interrelate, when applied to employment claims against embassies.

In the Court’s view, there was no obligation under international law to provide for immunity in such claims, and Section 16(1)(a) of the State Immunity Act was therefore incompatible with Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Importantly, because the right to effective remedy was also a general principle of European Union law and thus had horizontal direct effect, the Court disapplied the relevant Sections to the extent the claims fell within the scope of European law. The speakers will address the impact of this judgment on the law of State immunity and the different facets of its interplay with other legal regimes.