UK Supreme Court Reassesses State Immunity and the Foreign Act of State Doctrine

30 January 2017
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Key takeaways

  • The UK Supreme Court has ruled that claims in tort regarding the UK’s alleged complicity in rendition and mistreatment of detainees at the hands of foreign States can proceed to trial.
  • The doctrine of State immunity will not bar such a claim, because there were no “legal interests” of foreign States at stake. The mere potential for reputational embarrassment is not enough to attract State immunity.
  • Claims touching on the lawfulness or validity of sovereign acts of foreign States will likely be justiciable in the English courts, in circumstances where fundamental human rights and violations of jus cogens norms are engaged.