Antwerp Labour Court of Appeal, R.B. v Kingdom of Morocco, Nr. 2015/AA/536, 17 March 2017
R.B., a person of Belgian-Moroccan nationality, who used to work for the Moroccan Consulate-General in Belgium, was seeking the payment of severance pay and of overdue salary after his mandate was terminated.
Notwithstanding plaintiff’s suggestion that he was merely engaged in simple administrative tasks, the Antwerp Labour Court held that the mandate of the plaintiff related to ‘acta jure imperii’, in particular as his tasks could be qualified as consular functions in the sense of Article 5(e) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, for which the state of Morocco was entitled to immunity from jurisdiction. Moreover, the plaintiff could not prove the existence of an employment contract instead of a statutory employment. For the sake of completeness, the Court tested Morocco’s state immunity against the 2004 UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property, which it considered to reflect customary international law, and upheld the immunity of Morocco under several of the exceptions contained in Article 11(2) of that treaty relating to employment contracts.