State Immunity: Arfan Khan leads in the UK Supreme Court

State Immunity/Supreme Court

Arfan Khan leads the 4A Law written intervention submissions in the United Kingdom Supreme Court. The intervention concerned a landmark State Immunity appeal.  The Court of Appeal set aside the State Immunity Act 1978 in order to give effect to Article 47 of the EU Charter. It declared the State Immunity Act 1978 incompatible with Article 6 of the ECHR. In the Court of Appeal, Arfan Khan appeared as lead Counsel for 4A Law. On appeal to the Supreme Court, Arfan Khan led for 4A Law and secured permission to intervene, which was opposed. Thereafter written submissions were filed.  Amongst other issues, these submissions addressed the application of Article 6 of the ECHR, Article 47 of the EU Charter, customary international law (including the test for identifying the same), procedural and substantive bars, absolute/restrictive immunity, and the application of these principles to employment claims falling within the material scope of EU law. The Supreme Court judgment has been reserved. The substantive hearing can be viewed through the Supreme Court website, where Arfan Khan was instructed to appear in the context of the 4A Law written submissions:


Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption.

Judgment appealed:

[2015] EWCA Civ 33:



Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


[Embassy of the Republic of Sudan]


[Ms Fatima Ahmed Benkharbouche]

Ms Minah Jonah


The AIRE Centre

4A LAW Public Interest Lawyers Ltd

From the Supreme Court website:


Whether granting immunity from suit under the State Immunity Act 1978 engages, and breaches, the Respondents’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and EU Charter.


Ms Janah was employed as a member of the domestic staff at the Libyan Embassy in London. Ms Benkharbouche was employed in the Sudanese Embassy. Following dismissal from their employment, the claimants issued claims in the Employment Tribunal. Libya and Sudan claimed immunity from suit under the State Immunity Act 1978. The claimants responded that barring their claims would breach Article 6 and/or Article 14 of the ECHR and/or Article 47 of the EU Charter. The Court of Appeal accepted the claimants’ arguments, making a declaration of incompatibility pursuant to section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and disapplying the State Immunity Act 1978 in respect of the elements of the claims within the scope of EU law. The Secretary of State was joined to proceedings at the Court of Appeal stage as entitled under section 5 Human Rights Act 1998”.

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