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Committee welcomes greater legal protections for embassy workers

29 November 2022

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has published its second report into the Draft State Immunity Act 1978 (Remedial) Order 2022.

The Government introduced the draft remedial order following two Supreme Court judgments that found the State Immunity Act 1978 to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The remedial order relates to how foreign states are granted immunity from prosecution for employment claims brought against them by workers in embassies based in the UK. The Supreme Court found that the legislation currently granted greater immunity than was required by international law meaning that certain categories of employees, such as domestic workers, were wrongfully denied the right to take their cases to court.

The Joint Committee finds that the measures introduced by the Government through the remedial order would rectify the incompatibilities identified in these cases and ensure that, in this context, state immunity was provided to the extent required by international law and no further.

In its report published earlier this year, the Joint Committee raised concerns that the remedial order would leave uncertainty over what forms of employment and conduct would be considered to be in the ‘exercise of sovereign authority’ and attract state immunity. However, it accepts the Government’s response that additional detail may risk domestic law falling out of step with international law, and suggests that the Government should consider producing guidance instead.

The Joint Committee therefore recommends that the draft Remedial Order be approved.

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