Categorized | International, Local, News, Regional

Britain critical of judge ruling on St. Lucian diplomat

LONDON, Mar 22, CMC – The British government has taken the unusual step of criticising a sitting judge on his decision to reject a claim of diplomatic immunity from the St. Lucia Ambassador to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Dr. Walid Juffali while giving his former wife the right to sue him here for support.

I am satisfied that what has transpired here is that (Dr Juffali) has sought and obtained a diplomatic appointment with the sole intention of defeating (Ms Estrada’s) claims consequent on the breakdown of their marriage,” said Justice Hayden.

‘Dr Juffali has not, in any real sense, taken up his appointment, nor has he discharged any responsibilities in connection with it. It is an entirely artificial construct,” he added.

Christina Estrada, the ex-wife of the Saudi billionaire is seeking a slice of the four billion pound (One British pound =US$1.44) fortune after the end of their 13-year marriage.

But Juffali has filed an appeal against the ruling and Britain’s Foreign Office said that if the decision stood, British diplomats could be hauled before the courts of any country in which they are serving and their position “scrutinised, and their status unjustifiably curtailed”.

Harmond
Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond

Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond said the high court’s ruling “should not be upheld or endorsed”.

Last month, the St. Lucia government said it had informed the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that it intended to uphold the principle of diplomatic immunity by allowing Juffali to invoke his diplomatic immunity in the civil case brought by his ex-wife.

Since then, Prime Minister Anthony confirmed the supermodel ex-wife of the Saudi billionaire, had named him and the Attorney General in a civil lawsuit as she seeks to challenge the decision of the St. Lucia government to appoint Juffali as a diplomat.

In outlining his reason for appealing the judge’s ruling, Juffali said the decision was “deeply offensive, not least in its conclusion that his appointment … is an artifice”. The judgment is expected this week.

The Foreign Office submitted an opinion from Tim Eicke QC backing the Saudi billionaire. It said the judge had made a mistake in attempting to decide whether Juffali had been a diplomat.

In the evidence, Hammond said the “judge erred in concluding that it was necessary (or permissible) for the court to ‘look behind’ the Foreign and Commonwealth Office certificate, which confirmed that (Juffali]) had been appointed to the post of permanent representative of St Lucia to the IMO and to consider whether (he) had taken up the post or exercised any functions in connection with it”.

London argued that only the “executive (acting through the FCO) as part of the royal prerogative of conducting foreign relations” can decide to “accept (or not) a diplomat”.

The Guardian newspaper here said that the intervention by the foreign secretary is significant because a growing number of litigants are claiming diplomatic and state immunity in English courts, with lawyers saying that the capital is attracting a global super rich partly drawn to London as a good place to fight legal disputes.

But Geoffrey Robertson QC, a former UN judge, told the newspaper that UK courts should have the power to rule on diplomatic immunity to stop “sham” appointments being made by foreign embassies and end “abuse” of the law by rich and powerful individuals.

Leave a Reply

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

LONDON, Mar 22, CMC – The British government has taken the unusual step of criticising a sitting judge on his decision to reject a claim of diplomatic immunity from the St. Lucia Ambassador to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Dr. Walid Juffali while giving his former wife the right to sue him here for support.

I am satisfied that what has transpired here is that (Dr Juffali) has sought and obtained a diplomatic appointment with the sole intention of defeating (Ms Estrada’s) claims consequent on the breakdown of their marriage,” said Justice Hayden.

‘Dr Juffali has not, in any real sense, taken up his appointment, nor has he discharged any responsibilities in connection with it. It is an entirely artificial construct,” he added.

Insert Ads Here

Christina Estrada, the ex-wife of the Saudi billionaire is seeking a slice of the four billion pound (One British pound =US$1.44) fortune after the end of their 13-year marriage.

But Juffali has filed an appeal against the ruling and Britain’s Foreign Office said that if the decision stood, British diplomats could be hauled before the courts of any country in which they are serving and their position “scrutinised, and their status unjustifiably curtailed”.

Harmond
Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond

Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond said the high court’s ruling “should not be upheld or endorsed”.

Last month, the St. Lucia government said it had informed the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that it intended to uphold the principle of diplomatic immunity by allowing Juffali to invoke his diplomatic immunity in the civil case brought by his ex-wife.

Since then, Prime Minister Anthony confirmed the supermodel ex-wife of the Saudi billionaire, had named him and the Attorney General in a civil lawsuit as she seeks to challenge the decision of the St. Lucia government to appoint Juffali as a diplomat.

In outlining his reason for appealing the judge’s ruling, Juffali said the decision was “deeply offensive, not least in its conclusion that his appointment … is an artifice”. The judgment is expected this week.

The Foreign Office submitted an opinion from Tim Eicke QC backing the Saudi billionaire. It said the judge had made a mistake in attempting to decide whether Juffali had been a diplomat.

In the evidence, Hammond said the “judge erred in concluding that it was necessary (or permissible) for the court to ‘look behind’ the Foreign and Commonwealth Office certificate, which confirmed that (Juffali]) had been appointed to the post of permanent representative of St Lucia to the IMO and to consider whether (he) had taken up the post or exercised any functions in connection with it”.

London argued that only the “executive (acting through the FCO) as part of the royal prerogative of conducting foreign relations” can decide to “accept (or not) a diplomat”.

The Guardian newspaper here said that the intervention by the foreign secretary is significant because a growing number of litigants are claiming diplomatic and state immunity in English courts, with lawyers saying that the capital is attracting a global super rich partly drawn to London as a good place to fight legal disputes.

But Geoffrey Robertson QC, a former UN judge, told the newspaper that UK courts should have the power to rule on diplomatic immunity to stop “sham” appointments being made by foreign embassies and end “abuse” of the law by rich and powerful individuals.