Houghton v USA – service on a foreign State in proceedings involving its armed forces

2 July, 2021

A UK Employment Tribunal (“ET”) has handed down judgment on the previously untested issue whether a party serving ET proceedings on a foreign State in relation to employment by that State’s armed forces of persons within the UK was required to follow the service provisions in s. 12 of the State Immunity Act 1978 (“SIA”), or whether that section was excluded pursuant to s. 16(2) SIA, as contended by Mrs Houghton.

Employment Judge Brown held that “while the wording of s16(2) SIA disapplies Part 1 SIA to ‘proceedings relating to … the armed forces of a state’, the wording does not disapply Part 1 in relation to service of documents for instituting those proceedings”.

A copy of the Judgment is here.

Professor Dan Sarooshi QC appeared on behalf of the USA, assisted by Andrew Legg, instructed by Michael Burd and Emma Delap of Lewis Silkin LLP.