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Steven LOBLE

International & Commercial Litigation

Playing for time – claiming to be a sovereign state - Part 4 - time ran



In response to AELF’s claim filed in the Commercial Court in London, SLM raised a very technical argument that the airline was not served correctly under the English State Immunity Act because the airline is, according to the airline, a sovereign state. This argument led to two hearings in both of which SLM’s arguments were dismissed.

SLM then sought permission to appeal – the result of that application was set out in Playing for time – claiming to be a sovereign state –- Part 3.

A single Lord Justice was very dismissive of the application, saying,


“In view of the clear wording of s.14 of the State Immunity Act 1978, it is not remotely arguable that the service provisions in s. 12(1) of that Act extend to separate entities such as the defendant/applicant. The view of Butcher J in Dynasty Co for Oil and Gas Trading Ltd v Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq [2021] EWHC 952 (Comm) is plainly right.

The next step in the proceedings was a hearing of a summary judgment application. SLM failed to file any evidence, indicated that it would not attend the hearing and its solicitors came of the record two days before the hearing.

The judge awarded AELF the full amount of the claim (several million US dollars) plus interest and costs. So far, no payment of the judgment has been received and execution procedures will be followed.

Steven Loble of W Legal is representing AELF with Hannah Brown QC