Kuwait News Agency v Parrott

Date12 juin 1990
CourtCourt of Cassation (France)
France, Court of Cassation (First Civil Chamber).

(Camille Bernard, President; Lemontey, Rapporteur; Sadon, Advocate-General)

Kuwait News Agency

State immunity Jurisdictional immunity State-controlled body Kuwait News Agency Dispute concerning contract of employment of journalist Foreign national employed part-time Whether State-controlled body entitled to invoke jurisdictional immunity Relevance of fact that body endowed with legal personality and administering its own budget Relevance of fact that journalist had no special responsibilities The law of France

Summary: The facts:Mr Parrott, a British journalist working in France, was employed half-time by the Kuwait News Agency to collect information and prepare articles on economic matters. Following the non-renewal of his contract of employment, he instituted proceedings before the French courts. The Kuwait News Agency pleaded immunity; it claimed that it was a governmental body and that the acts which it performed for the State of Kuwait, in which the plaintiff had participated, constituted a public service mission. The Court of Appeal of Paris rejected the plea and the News Agency appealed to the Court of Cassation.

Held:The appeal was dismissed.

The Kuwait News Agency had its own legal personality and independent budget. The protected interests of the State of Kuwait justifying jurisdictional immunity could not be infringed by the act of administration (acte de gestion) whereby a press agency, even if it was an emanation of the State, dismissed a journalist appointed within the framework of its activities, where that person had no special responsibilities.

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

Mr Parrott, a British journalist exercising his profession in France, was employed half-time by the Kuwait News Agency office in Paris to collect information and to prepare articles on economic and financial questions. The Court of Appeal of Paris, in a judgment of 29 October 1985 confirming the decision at first instance, decided that the Conseil de Prud'hommes (Employment Tribunal) of Paris was competent to examine claims brought against the Agency by Mr Parrott following the non-renewal of his contract of employment.

On the two parts of the first ground of appeal

The Kuwait News Agency complains that the judgment under appeal violated Articles 14 and 15 of the Civil Code as well as the principle of the jurisdictional immunity of foreign States. The Agency contends that, created by...

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