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The Kingdom of Morocco v. Anonymous

2010 June 15
by Babise de Laive

Court: Netherlands Supreme Court

Date: February 5, 2010

LJN Number: BK6673

Case: A Moroccan national started working for the Moroccan embassy in The Hague as a secretary in March of 2001. In October 2001, she received the Dutch nationality. Since July of 2003, she is also married to a Dutchman. In June 2003, she became ill due to neck pain. In January 2004, the ambassador summoned her to resume her duties immediately, or otherwise be fired due to abandoning her position. The secretary did not resume her duties as she was still suffering from neck pains, after which she was fired. She then instigated proceedings in The Netherlands against the Kingdom of Morocco. The court of first instance ordered the Kingdom of Morocco to resume payments under the employment agreement until the agreement had been terminated in accordance with Dutch law; this decision was upheld by the appeals court.

Held: As was the case in Anonymous v. The Kingdom of Morocco, the Kingdom of Morocco invoked its immunity of jurisdiction in these proceedings. However, the Netherlands Supreme Court confirmed its previous decision of Anonymous v. The Kingdom of Morocco, again by making reference to the European Convention on State Immunity and to the UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property. Although the latter has not been signed or ratified by The Netherlands, this convention applies in The Netherlands on grounds of international customary law. As the secretary lives in The Netherlands, has in the meantime received the Dutch nationality, and is married to a Dutchman, the Supreme Court decides that entering into the employment agreement is not an act which may be protected by state immunity. The scope of duties performed under the employment agreement is not protected by state immunity either, as the secretary did not perform duties with a "diplomatic character". Therefore, the decision of the appeals court is upheld.

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