Home / Resources / Rodney Dixon KC and Russell Hopkins in success for the President of Mozambique

Rodney Dixon KC and Russell Hopkins in success for the President of Mozambique


The Court of Appeal (the Chancellor of the High Court, Underhill and Phillips LJJ) today handed down a unanimous judgment upholding the decision of Mr Justice Robin Knowles CBE that His Excellency President Nyusi, the sitting President of Mozambique, has sovereign immunity in relation to claims brought against him in the long running “Tuna Bonds” litigation. 

In the underlying proceedings, the trial of which was heard at the end of 2023 with judgment awaited, the Republic of Mozambique brought claims against a number of parties including the Privinvest group. Mozambique alleges that a corrupt scheme was used to procure certain sovereign guarantees in bonds issued to develop its tuna industry (among other projects). 

In response to the claim brought against it, the Privinvest group asserted a claim against President Nyusi and proceeded to contend that (i) they had served the President with the claim by delivering documents to the Presidential Palace and the Office of the President in October 2021, (ii) the President had lost the right to rely on immunity by not responding to those documents in time, and (iii) President was not entitled to immunity in any event.  

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of Mr Justice Knowles that service was not validly effected in October 2021.  This was because the Privinvest Defendants had failed to comply with the relevant provisions in the CPR which, in the case of Mozambique, require service to be effected through judicial authorities rather than directly by a party. The consequence was that the President was entitled to assert immunity, and the Court of Appeal confirmed that the President is immune as a sitting Head of State under the relevant provisions of the State Immunity Act 1978.

Rodney Dixon KC and Russell Hopkins were instructed by Simon Bushell, Gareth Keillor, Anna Sattlegger and Hazel Meikle-Downing of Seladore Legal, working with Mohammed Nyaoga SC, Kennedy Ogetto, Geoffrey Imende and Dennis Nkarichia of Mohammed Muigai LLP.

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Rodney Dixon KC

Call 2000 | Silk 2014

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Russell Hopkins

Call 2018

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