On September 3, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in Supreme v. SHAPE. The facts of the case involved the nonpayment for fuel under contractual arrangements between a group of private entities (Supreme) and two NATO entitles (SHAPE and JFCB) under which Supreme supplied fuel to SHAPE for a NATO mission in Afghanistan. On the basis of the Brussels Ibis Regulation (1215/2012/EU), Supreme brought suit before the Dutch courts for non-payment, but the NATO entities argued that they were immune from suit because of their status as international organizations. Eventually, the case reached the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, which referred questions to the CJEU concerning the applicability of the Regulation in this case and specifically whether the NATO entities could invoke immunity to preclude the application of the Regulation. This question took up the least amount of discussion by the Court, which ultimately concluded that:
the fact that an international organisation such as SHAPE relied on immunity from execution in support of its action for interim relief does not preclude examination by the court of its international jurisdiction under Regulation No 1215/2012. The issue of whether the immunity relied on by an international organisation is a bar to the court seised having jurisdiction to hear and determine such an action or to adopt implementing measures against such an organisation arises at a later stage, after the international jurisdiction of that court has been determined.
The case will now return to the Netherlands Supreme Court for a final determination.