Impediment to legal action in Iraq did not impact the application of the Iraq limitation period before English courts


Re: Ministry of Defence v Iraqi Civilians [2016] UKSC 25

The court dismissed the appeal on a preliminary issue relating to the 14 lead claimants’ action against the respondent in tort for physical maltreatment at the hands of British armed forces in Iraq. The issue to be determined was the effect that an Iraq law on limitation periods had in English courts. Held: CPA Order 17, which prevented legal action in Iraq, was not an impediment rendering it impossible for the claimants to assert their rights in England. Thus, the exception in the Civil Code of Iraq, art 435 did not apply in the context of England. The Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984 required Iraqi limitation law to be applied to the facts as before the English courts.

Richard Hermer QC was involved in this case.