Creighton Ltd v Minister of Finance of Qatar

JurisdictionFrance
CourtCourt of Cassation (France)
France, Court of Cassation (First Civil Chamber).

(Lemontey, President; Bargue, Rapporteur; Roehrich, Advocate General)

Creighton Ltd
and
Minister of Finance of Qatar and Others

State immunity Attachment and execution Arbitration Award in favour of private company against foreign State Enforceability of award Signature by State of arbitration clause Undertaking to comply with any award in accordance with ICC Arbitration Rules, Article 24 Whether constituting waiver of immunity from execution The law of France

Summary: The facts:Creighton Ltd, an American company, obtained an arbitral award against the Finance Minister of the State of Qatar. In order to enforce the award, Creighton obtained the conservatory attachment of property belonging to Qatar but the Court of Appeal vacated the attachment on the basis that it had not been established that Qatar had waived its immunity from execution. Creighton appealed to the Court of Cassation.

Held:The appeal was allowed.

Where a State signed an arbitration clause and undertook to comply with any award in accordance with the provisions of Article 24 of the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce, this implied waiver by that State of its immunity from execution under international law.

The following is the text of the judgment of the Court:

ON THE FIRST GROUND OF CASSATION

This Court has considered the rules of international law governing the immunity of foreign States, together with Article 24 of the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce.

In order to enforce arbitral awards which are now final, the American Company Creighton Ltd, which is recognized as a creditor of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and Agriculture of the Government of the State of Qatar, obtained two attachment orders over sums held in the name of the Minister by the Qatar National Bank and the Bank of France and two...

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