The decision clarifies the role of the English courts and the UK executive branch in the recognition of foreign heads of state and the ability of English courts to adjudicate the lawfulness of executive and legislative acts of foreign states.

By Charles Claypoole, Isuru Devendra and Michelle Taylor

The UK Supreme Court (UKSC) recently issued its judgment in “Maduro Board” of the Central Bank of Venezuela v “Guaidó Board” of the Central Bank of Venezuela.[1] The case concerns who controls Venezuela’s gold reserves of approximately US$1.95 billion held by the Bank of England, and proceeds of a gold swap contract of approximately US$120 million held by court-appointed receivers in England: the board of the Central Bank of Venezuela (the BCV) appointed by Nicolás Maduro, who claims to be the President of Venezuela (the Maduro Board); or the BCV board appointed by Juan Guaidó, who claims to be the interim President of Venezuela following his appointment by the National Assembly of Venezuela (the Guaidó Board)?

The decision confirms that the UK government can recognise one person as de jure head of state of a foreign state and implicitly recognise another person as the de facto head of state.

By Charles Claypoole and Isuru Devendra

The English Court of Appeal’s recent decision in The “Maduro Board” of the Central Bank of Venezuela v The “Guaidó Board” of the Central Bank of Venezuela & Ors[i] concerned who controls Venezuela’s gold reserves in England: the ad hoc board of the Central Bank of Venezuela appointed by Mr. Juan Guaidó (the Guaidó Board) or the board of the Central Bank of Venezuela appointed by Mr. Nicolás Maduro (the Maduro Board).