Former King of Spain loses bid for state immunity | News

The former king of Spain is not entitled to sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction of English courts in a harassment claim brought by his former lover, the High Court ruled yesterday.

Juan Carlos Alfonso Victor Maria De Borbon y Borbon is being sued by Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who claims that the former monarch, or his servants or agents, placed her under surveillance and attempted to intimidate her.

She alleges that the head of Spain’s National Intelligence Agency told her that he leaked his identity to the press and that someone broke into his Swiss apartment and left a book about Diana’s death, Princess of Wales, on a coffee table.

“His Majesty rejects the allegations made against him and any alleged wrongdoing by the Spanish State is denied in the strongest terms,” ​​the High Court said. understood in December.

Juan Carlos argued that the High Court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim as he is only subject to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Supreme Court over any act after his 2014 abdication as king Juan Carlos I. His lawyer, Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, told the court that “he is regularly subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Spain and the only Supreme Court of Spain”.

But Mr Justice Nicklin ruled that “none of the grounds on which state immunity was claimed has been established”, adding: “The claim will therefore continue”. He rejected the argument that, despite his abdication, Juan Carlos nevertheless remains a “sovereign” and is entitled to personal immunity.

“A striking feature of Sir Daniel’s findings is that if his interpretation were correct and the defendant remains a ‘sovereign’… then the immunity he enjoys is personal and lifelong, subsisting even today, against of all civil and criminal proceedings,” Nicklin said. The judge added: ‘At its strictest, Sir Daniel’s argument, if accepted, would mean that if, tomorrow, the defendant walked into a jewelery shop in Hatton Garden and stole a diamond ring, he could not face any civil or criminal proceeding before that court (unless the Spanish State has waived its immunity).

Edward K. Thompson