The claimant's action against the Ministry of the Interior for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for damages for alleged torture and unlawful imprisonment in Saudi Arabia was struck out on the grounds of state immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978.Application by the first defendant ('the Ministry') that the claimant's ('J') action be struck out on the grounds that the Ministry were entitled to State immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978. The claim form was issued in July 2002 for aggravated and exemplary damages for assault and battery, trespass to the person, torture and unlawful imprisonment between March and May 2001. J alleged that the incidents had taken place in Saudi Arabia and that he had been systematically abused for 67 days. The alleged torturer was the second defendant ('AA'). J suffered severe pain, bruising and mental trauma and was unable to work. The overall value of the claim was in the region of ?2.5 million. The Ministry denied the allegations of torture and claimed they were entitled to state immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978 in respect of civil suits unless the claim fell into the exception within s.5 of the Act in respect of personal injury. J argued that international law was evolving and the court should take the view that the same principles should be applied to the civil law as to the criminal law and that there should be no civil State immunity for torture. J also applied for an order under CPR 6.8 that service of the claim form be effected on AA by an alternative method via the Ministry as the claim form had been returned on the basis that there was insufficient information to identify him.HELD: (1) Section 5 of the Act required the act or omission causing the personal injury to have taken place in the UK in order to give jurisdiction to the UK courts. Acts of torture allegedly committed in Saudi Arabia did not fall within the exception to the immunity conferred by s.1(1) of the Act (see Al-Adsani v Government of Kuwait (No.2) (1996) 107 ILR 536). As a matter of construction of s.5 of the Act the Ministry enjoyed State immunity in respect of the acts allegedly having caused personal injury to J carried out in Saudi Arabia and additionally they enjoyed immunity from the suit for false imprisonment as the Act did not make any exception to the immunity granted from civil suit by s.1(1) of the Act for claims in relation to false imprisonment. (2) Al-Adsani (supra) precluded a successful application to a judge for a ruling that the Act was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. It was for Parliament to amend the Act in that respect. Accordingly, J's claim was dismissed against the Ministry. (3) The immunity afforded to the Ministry under the Act clearly extended to AA as part of the Saudi Arabian State, under s.14(1) of the Act. It was not pleaded that AA was acting outside official duties. Therefore, there was no point in ordering alternative service against AA.Ministry's application allowed. J's application dismissed.

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