KAC commenced two actions in early 1991 in the Commercial Court, following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and the seizure of KAC’s civil air-fleet and all the KAC aircraft spares stored at Kuwait Airport.
The actions then became the two longest running proceedings in the Commercial Court - lasting almost 22 years.
They have been the subject of three appeals to the House of Lords and further appeals to the Court of Appeal and have set precedents for numerous aspects of tort and the quantification of damages, as well as extending the effect of English public policy upon the Acts of State of foreign governments. The several judgments in KAC v IAC have, so far, been cited in almost 300 High Court and Court of Appeal judgments in England, as well as in other common law jurisdictions.
Four members of Blackstone Chambers acted for the Defendants, Iraqi Airways: Stephen Nathan QC acted almost continuously and remained up to the present day as IAC’s Leading Counsel during KAC’s attempted enforcement proceedings since 2010. David Donaldson QC acted throughout most of the 1990s. In earlier stages, both Michael Beloff QC and Andy George also acted for the Iraqi airline.
KAC managed, eventually, to obtain judgments for US $1.3 billion, but were then faced with a variety of hard-pressed defences in their attempted enforcement proceedings in the Commercial Court against IAC, the Iraqi Government and two Iraqi state-owned commercial banks.
The actions and the enforcement proceedings have now (December 2012) been settled for US $500 million.