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Trendtex Trading Corporation Ltd v. Central Bank of Nigeria
Court of Appeal (Civil)
1 QB 529 (1977)
Early in 1975, the government of Nigeria entered into contracts for the importation of cement. In June 1975, the port of Lagos reached capacity, causing congestion in the port and a crisis for the government of Nigeria. On July 29, 1975, a new military administration assumed power in Nigeria. To respond to the crisis and relieve the congestion in the port of Lagos, the new government set up a committee to negotiate new terms with the cement suppliers. Although this committee alleviated the congestion, certain suppliers brought legal claims to enforce their rights in English courts. Trendtex Trading Corporation (plaintiff) brought a claim to enforce its rights related to a letter of credit issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (defendant). The Central Bank of Nigeria claimed that, under international law, it was entitled to sovereign immunity as a governmental entity that would prevent Trendtex from bringing its claim before an English court. Trendtex countered that because its claim involved a commercial transaction, the Central Bank of Nigeria could not invoke sovereign immunity.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Denning, J.)
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