- Commercial Court rejects state immunity and service arguments but declines jurisdiction over claims against sovereign states for breach of court judgments (London Steam-Ship v Kingdom of Spain; London Steam-Ship v French State, The ‘Prestige’ (No 4))
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Arbitration analysis: Mr Justice Butcher in the Commercial Court determined that the Kingdom of Spain and the French State (the States) could not rely on the principle of state immunity in defending any of the four claims relating to the States (the Claims) that were brought by the London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association (the Club). Additionally, the court held that the French State was not required to be served through diplomatic channels. However, only two of the Claims, which alleged that the States had failed to honour arbitration awards in favour of the Club, were justiciable. The court decided that it did not have jurisdiction to determine the other two Claims, which alleged that the States had breached judgments of the English Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal. In relation to those claims, the States were required to be sued in Spain and France respectively, in accordance with applicable EU law. Written by Niraj Modha, barrister, at 39 Essex Chambers.
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