1987

CA

Gur Corporation v Trust Bank of Africa LTD [1987] QB 599 Court of Appeal

The plaintiff Panamanian Company contracted with the Republic of Ciskei to build a hospital and two schools. Plaintiffs obtained a guarantee from the defendant bank in favour of Ciskei Government, in the case were trying to recover a sum paid to the defendant as security for the guarantee. The question was whether Ciskei had locus standi to sue or being sued in English courts. On grounds of Carl Zeiss the court found that Ciskei was acting as delegate of the de jure sovereign, South Africa [so facilitating commerce without contradicting the public policy of the government] The solicitors for the bank asked the Foreign and Commonwealth office if the UK had recognised Ciskei & if the English courts could recognised it as capable of sue and being sued.

“Consistently with the statements made in Parliament in April 1980, … the attitude of the Government is to be inferred from the nature of its dealings with the regime concerned and in particular whether the government deals with it on a normal government to government basis. Her Majesty’s Government does not recognise the ‘Republic of Ciskei’ as an independent sovereign state, either de jure or de facto, and does not have any dealings with the Government of the ‘Republic of Ciskei’ or the Department of ‘Public Works, Republic of Ciskei’…in the question of capacity to sue and being sued is a matter for the court to determine having regard of the answer given forehand” Sir John Donaldson: in my judgement the legal status of the Republic of Ciskei and its government is indistinguishable from that which obtained in the case of the GDR and its government at the time with which the Carl Zeiss case was concerned… I would allow the appeal and declare that the Government of the Republic of Ciskei has locus standi in the courts of this country as being a subordinate body set up by the Republic of South Africa to act on his behalf.