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Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

For our Singapore office, for client enquiries please contact our BD Director, Asia Pacific, Lara Quie and for all other queries please contact Lynn Quek. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

Contact

Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

For our Singapore office, for client enquiries please contact our BD Director, Asia Pacific, Lara Quie and for all other queries please contact Lynn Quek. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

06/12/2022

Court of Appeal holds that the former King of Spain is immune in respect of pre-abdication allegations

His Majesty Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor María de Borbón y Borbón v Corinna Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn [2022] EWCA Civ 1595

In a judgment handed down today, the Court of Appeal held that His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain from 22 November 1975 to 18 June 2014, was entitled to immunity under sections 1 and 14 of the State Immunity Act (SIA) in respect of allegations pre-dating his abdication.

The Court of Appeal held that the “proper approach” to determining immunity under section 14 was to “consider the individual acts alleged” and assess whether such acts were undertaken “under colour of authority” (§56). Applying that test to the pleaded allegations (which were assumed to be true only for the purposes of the preliminary issue on state immunity and each of which was denied) the Court found that His Majesty would have been acting in a public capacity and therefore entitled to immunity.

The Court also rejected a submission that there was an applicable exception to immunity under section 5 SIA, which lifts immunity “as respects proceedings in respect of … personal injury … caused by an act or omission in the United Kingdom”. It also addressed the need for procedural rigour in the sensitive context of state immunity, ruling that the High Court had been wrong to permit an amendment suggested during the course of the hearing at first instance in an attempt to overcome state immunity issues.

Professor Philippa Webb, together with Tim Otty KC and Paul Luckhurst of Blackstone Chambers, acted for His Majesty Juan Carlos I and was instructed by Guy Martin of Carter Ruck.

Read the judgment.

Relevant members
Professor Philippa Webb
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