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Employment Tribunal holds that EU law trumps diplomatic immunity

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) considered 2 appeals. The appellants both worked as staff in foreign diplomatic missions. Before 2 separate tribunals, their claims were dismissed as state immunity under the State Immunity Act (SIA) was applicable.

The EAT were asked to consider the European Convention of Human Rights. However the Convention and the Human Rights Act could not be applied. In order for the courts to read the SIA as convention compliant, would require the courts to amend the legislation, essentially going further than the courts were able to.

However the court was then asked to consider the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This treaty creates rights that have direct effect in the UK. Where there is a conflict between domestic and EU law, EU law takes priority. The tribunal agreed with the arguments made by the applicants. It disapplied the State Immunity Act and allowed the complaints made by both applicants.

Both claimants and respondents have been given permission to appeal. For further reading on the potential far reaching consequences of this case, please click here and here.

Immigration & Asylum