Published 22 June 2020
UK case law applying section 14 of the State Immunity Act of 1978 has essentially refused to extend protection to sub-central governmental units, unless the disputes in which those units are embroiled have involved the exercise of the sovereign authority of the central government. This has meant the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) has been refused immunity in UK courts in the past, and in the current Dynasty Oil v. Kurdistan Regional Government and Ashti Hawrami case may be refused once again. This commentary argues that position would seem most appropriate given the text of section 14, the judicial opinions interpreting it, and the traditional international law on immunity. However, the final portion of the commentary also suggests that the outlier pre-1978 UK case of Mellenger v. New Brunswick Development Corporation, which extended immunity to a Canadian sub-central governmental unit, can be reconciled with both the other UK decisions denying an extension, and the international law of immunity as developed in the UN International Law Commission, and thereby provide the KRI with a plausible argument for immunity, given the KRI's sovereign authority over oil and gas under the terms of the 2005 Iraqi Constitution.