Howard Kennedy wins $150m redress for KAC

Howard Kennedy has won damages of $148.5m (£80.8m) on behalf of the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) in its ongoing case against the Iraqi Airways Company (IAC).

Kendall Freeman, in a new instruction for the firm, is acting for IAC. The firm replaces Landau & Scanlan, and has been advising
IAC since the fall of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein last year.

Closing arguments in the latest stage of the case were heard in the Commercial Court last week, after which Mr Justice Cresswell awarded interim damages.

KAC first brought its claim against IAC in January 1991. Following the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, IAC, directed by the Iraqi government, seized 10 civilian aircraft belonging to KAC from Kuwait International Airport. Four aircraft were flown to Mosul in the north of Iraq and were destroyed in coalition bombing raids in early 1991.
The remaining six planes were sent to Baghdad and later to Iran.

KAC’s claims concerning the ownership of the 10 aircraft have been settled in a series of judgments by the Commercial Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords over the past 14 years.

The latest trial was a separate action in respect of spare parts. Earlier this year the KAC team brought containers of spare parts and documentary evidence out of Baghdad under armed escort, following which IAC accepted liability.

The interim award is roughly half of the $285m (£155m) claimed by KAC. More than $60m (£32.6m) worth of judgments and orders is still outstanding. KAC and IAC had reached a settlement last August, but this was thrown out.

Another trial in relation to the spares is scheduled for September, and in February the focus returns to the first action, in respect of KAC’s aircraft, when KAC is bringing an action known as ‘Perjury 2’. This alleges that a 1995 House of Lords judgment was obtained by perjury.

Kendall Freeman is instructing Rhodri Davies QC and Derek
Spitz of 1 Essex Court. Howard Kennedy’s Christopher Gooding is instructing a team led by Geoffrey Vos QC of 3 Stone Buildings, supported by Essex Court Chambers’ Joe Smouha QC.