ROSE C.J.—Appuhamy v. Gregory
1953Present: Rose C.J.
G. G. APPUHAMY, Appellant, and J. A. GREGORY, RespondentS. C. 158—C. R. Colombo, 35,008
International Law—Diplomatic immunity from judicial processScope.
Tinder the rules of international comity, diplomatic immunity from judicial'process is extended not only to a Minister or Ambassador but also to his family,*suite and servants. An assistant to amilitary or naval attach^, if he infant worksin an Embassy, is covered by the immunity.
j^PPff.AT. from a judgment of the Court of Requests, Colombo.
A. C. Nadarajah, for the plaintiff appellant.
E. B. Vannitamby, for the defendant respondent.
October 8, 1953. Rose C.J.—
In this ease the appellant sues the respondent for the recovery of a-sum of Rs. 300 in respect of wages which he alleges were due to him forservices rendered as personal boy. The respondent at the trial raisedthe issue that he is a member of the staff of the American Embassy in-Ceylon and is therefore immune from the jurisdiction of the Court ofRequests. The test which appears to have been applied in the Englishcases and which I agree with the learned Commissioner would seem to be-applicable to the position now existing in Ceylon is that immunity fromjudicial process is extended not only to the person of the Minister orAmbassador but to his family, suite and servants. That was stated byMcCardie J. in the case of Assurantie Compagnie Excelsior v. Smith1.On appeal Scrutton L.J. in the same case said, “ The Court must observe-the rules of international comity which gave diplomatic immunity fromjudicial process and must hold that the defendant was entitled to theimmunity which he claimed on the ground that he was on the official'staff of the Embassy carrying out official duties ”.
Mr. Nadarajah contends that there would seem to be logical reasons-for holding that a military or naval attache should not be covered bythis rule in that he is not one of the Ambassador’s staff. That matter,however, appear^-,to be decided by authority and in the case of Heme-leers-Shenley v. The Amazone, Re the Amazone 2, Slesser L.J. held that an-assistant military attache to the Belgian Embassy was entitled to the–same immunity as a member of the Ambassador’s staff, the test apparentlybeing whether the attache in question was performing duties in the-Embassy to assist the Ambassador. If, therefore, in principle a military or '
1 (1923) 10 Times L. JR. 105.2 (1940) 1 A. E. R. 269.
Sttun Bibee v. AbusaXly M.arikar
naval attache can be regarded as covered by the immunity, it seems to methat the same rule should apply to an assistant to an attache providedthat he in fact works in the Embassy.
Now; the respondent, Mr. James Ashley Gregory, gave evidence, andthere was no evidence called by the appellant in the lower court to thecontrary, that he is a clerk and assistant to the Naval Attache in theAmerican Embassy, Colombo. He stated that he is an American citizenon the staff of the American Embassy. In cross-examination he said■“ I came to Ceylon on the 6th of November, 1950, and since then I havebeen attached to the American Embassy. I am a clerk and also assistantto the Naval Attachd in the TJ. S. Embassy. I am paid by the U. S. Navy. ’ ’It seems to me that the fact that an attach.6, or an assistant attache or aclerk to an attach^, is not paid by the Embassy but is paid in fact by theUnited States Navy in whose employ he is does not remove bim from theimmunity, if in fact he is doing work on behalf of the Ambassador and isworking in the Embassy.
The learned Commissioner accepts the evidence of Mr. Gregory and•comes to the conclusion that having regard to his position in the Embassyhe is immune from civil process. 1 agree with that view. That being so,the appeal is dismissed with costs.‘