The immunities of States and international organisations

This database contains the original national contributions bringing together information on The immunities of States and international organisations

Information on the contribution

Member State
United Kingdom
Type of document
Permanent link to the contribution Kingdom/2013/285
Database of the CAHDI "The immunities of States and international organisations" - contribution of United Kingdom - Jurisprudence of 18/11/2013

Taurus Petroleum Ltd v. State Oil Marketing Company of the Ministry of Oil (Iraq)


High Court, Queen’s Bench Division

Date of the decision, of the judgment


Points of law

1) Under section 14 State Immunity Act a ‘separate entity’ is “any entity ... distinct from the executive organs of the government of the state and capable of suing or being sued” such as a separate judicial entity formed by the state for commercial or industrial purposes with its own management and budget, notwithstanding that the state exercises close supervision of its operation and affairs. There is a strong presumption that this separate corporate status should be respected, and the entity is only entitled to sovereign immunity if the proceedings relate to something done by it in the exercise of sovereign authority and the circumstances are such that the state would be so immune.

2) The commercial purposes exception provided for in section 13(4) State Immunity Act does not apply to the property of a state’s central bank for the purposes of section 14(4). Provided that the central bank has a qualifying interest in the “property” at issue, for example a legal interest in a debt under a letter of credit, the protection afforded by section 14(4) is triggered.

Summary of the case



[2013] EWHC 3494 (Comm); [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 432

Additional information (explanations, notes, etc.)

This case is subject to an outstanding appeal to the Court of Appeal.