Court of Appeal strikes down state immunity rules that prevent embassy employees seeking justice – Diarmuid Laffan

UK Human Rights Blog

SudanBenkharbouche & Anor v Embassy of the Republic of Sudan [2015] EWCA Civ 33, 5th February 2015 – read judgment

This judgment concerned the conjoined appeals of Ms. Benkharbouche and Ms. Janah which arose from employment law claims brought against, respectively, the Sudanese and Libyan embassies. Certain of their claims, such as those for unfair dismissal, were founded on domestic law. Others, such as those under the Working Time Regulations 1998, fell within the scope of EU law. All were met with pleas of state immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment provides a neat illustration of the relative remedial potency, on the one hand of human rights claims based on the European Convention on Human Rights by way of the Human Rights Act 1998, and on the other, those based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights via the doctrine of ‘horizontal direct…

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