Mr T Harrington v. The United States of America (2015) Employment Tribunal Judgment, Case 1807940/2013, 27 March 2015.

In this case the Employment Tribunal dismissed a number of claims brought by Mr Harrington against his former employer, the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (“AAFES”) – an integral part of the US Armed Forces – on the grounds of State immunity.

Employment Judge Lancaster held that the acts of AAFES as an employer fell within the scope of s. 16(2) of the State Immunity Act 1978 since it concerned acts by a foreign military force based in the UK. The application of s. 16(2) of the State Immunity Act had the consequence that the issue of immunity was to be decided according to the common law and not under Part I of the State Immunity Act (which otherwise contains an exception for employment related claims).

Employment Judge Lancaster went on to hold that the provision and maintenance by the USA of an AAFES exchange store at a US military base in the UK was an act jure imperii, and that the supervisory role played by Mr Harrington as part of his employment at the US base, had the consequence that the USA enjoyed immunity under the common law in the present case. As such, the claims by Mr Harrington against the USA were dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

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