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Appeal from EAT concerning “human trafficking” and slavery

Personal Injury Compensation

Appeal from EAT concerning “human trafficking” and slavery

Basfar v Wong [2022] UKSC 20

The Supreme Court has issued judgment a case in which a migrant domestic employee who worked in the home of a Saudi Arabian diplomat in the UK sought compensation for unpaid wages and breaches of employment rights. This complex judgment, which involves a defence of diplomatic immunity and art 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (the “Diplomatic Convention”), incorporated into UK domestic law by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, will be summarised in brief. Although the decision of the court favoured Ms Wong, unless admissions are made she will be required to prove the facts that she alleged before an employment tribunal, and even if her claim is eventually successful, and a money judgment is issued against the appellant it will probably be difficult, if not practically impossible, to enforce. The reason for that is that as long as a diplomat remains in post, art 31(3) of the Convention precludes the taking of any measures to execute the judgment which would infringe the inviolability of the diplomat’s person or residence. After the diplomat’s posting ends and he leaves the country, there might be no realistic prospect of enforcing a judgment against him in his home state.

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