Alcom Ltd v Republic of Colombia [1984] AC 580

The plaintiffs had secured judgment in default against Colombia, and now sought to enforce the judgement against monies held in the Colombian Embassy’s London Bank account. The Colombian Ambassador had certified that the monies in the account were used for the running of the Embassy. The issue was whether the monies were ‘property’ used for ‘commercial purposes’ 13, SIA 1978

A debt representing the balance standing to the credit of a diplomatic mission in a current bank account used for meeting the day-to-day expenses or running the mission would fall outside the subsection [commercial purposes] Such expenditure will, no doubt, include some moneys due under contracts for the supply of goods or services of the mission, but the account will also be drawn upon to meet many other items of expenditure which fall outside even the extended definition of ‘commercial purposes’ [provided in the Act] The debt represented by the credit balance is however one and indivisible.