• Saturday, February 24, 2024
businessday logo


Queen’s Bench dis-applies State Immunity Act


In an audacious and unprecedented move, the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court has decided to dis-apply the State Immunity Act 1978 (SIA) and registered a judgment obtained in Nigeria against a sovereign state (Nigeria) because the SIA is incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998.

The court accepted Crowther’s argument that whilst SIA provides sovereign states with general immunity from action and specifies a number of exceptions under which a State may not be immune, such exceptions do not include Human Rights grounds.

It was adjudged by a Nigerian Court that the Federal Government of Nigeria had committed genocide against the Odi Community in Nigeria and substantial compensation was awarded against the Government of Nigeria. That judgment has now been registered in England under the Administration of Justice Act 1920 with the view that the claimants who are the victims of the genocide will now commence enforcement action in England.