Summary of Diplomatic Immunity
An immunity from local laws and regulations accorded by host states to accredited foreign diplomats. It is recognized in international law that diplomatic officers are the personal representatives of sovereign states and, as such, are themselves inviolable on the same basis as the states they represent. Under this principle, diplomats are exempt from arrest or prosecution and local taxes; they are usually immune from civil legal process. The immunity so accorded extends to the diplomat’s offices, residence, papers, and effects; in addition, the immunity is conveyed upon members of the diplomat’s family residing with him and, in some cases, to members of his staff so long as they are not nationals of the host state. In most cases the diplomat’s immunity remains in effect even outside the country to which they are accredited while they travel on the official business of their government. As a practical matter, diplomatic officers are answerable only to the laws of their own country; accordingly, they enjoy no immunity within the jurisdiction of their own country.
A definitive statement on the extent of diplomatic immunity is to be found in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, signed April 18, 1961 (500 U.S.T.S. 95). It should be noted that diplomatic immunity does not extend to consular officers, for whom a more limited consular immunity applies.
(Main Author: William J. Miller)
Definition of Diplomatic Immunity
In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Diplomatic Immunity : The freedom from legal proceedings in the UK that is granted to members of diplomatic missions of foreign states by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964. This Act incorporates some of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), which governs diplomatic immunity in international law. The extent of the immunity depends upon the status of the member in question, as certified by the Secretary of State. If he is a member of the mission’s diplomatic staff, he is entitled to complete criminal immunity and to civil immunity except for actions relating to certain private activities. A member of the administrative or technical staff has full criminal immunity, but his civil immunity relates only to acts performed in the course of his official duties. For domestic staff, both criminal and civil immunity are restricted to official duties.
Similar immunities are granted to members of Commonwealth missions by the Diplomatic and other Privileges Act 1971, and to members of certain international bodies under the International Organisations Acts 1968 and 1981. Under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, the Secretary of State may remove diplomatic status from diplomatic or consular premises that are being misused.
Diplomatic immunity” means that ambassadors and other foreign government officials will not be held liable for violating the laws of the country where they work.
The Convention was made applicable to the U.S. by The Diplomatic Relations Act of 1978, codified in Chapter 6 of the Foreign Relations and Intercourse article of the United States Code (22 U.S.C. 254a et seq.).
The U.S. State Department posts a list of telephone numbers to call to verify the status of Diplomatic, Consular and U.N. personnel.
- United States Code
- Diplomatic Mission
- Diplomatic Agent
- Diplomatic Negotation
- Privileges and Immunities
- Sovereign Immunity
- Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
- Diplomatic and Consular Relations
- Foreign Service
- Doctrine Of Restricted Immunity
Hierarchical Display of Diplomatic immunity
International Relations > International affairs > International affairs > Diplomatic relations > Diplomatic representation
Law > International law > Public international law > Territorial law > Extra-territoriality
Concept of Diplomatic immunity
Characteristics of Diplomatic immunity
Translation of Diplomatic immunity
- Spanish: Inmunidad diplomática
- French: Immunité diplomatique
- German: Diplomatische Immunität
- Italian: Immunità diplomatica
- Portuguese: Imunidade diplomática
- Polish: Immunitet dyplomatyczny
Thesaurus of Diplomatic immunity
International Relations > International affairs > International affairs > Diplomatic relations > Diplomatic representation > Diplomatic immunity
Law > International law > Public international law > Territorial law > Extra-territoriality > Diplomatic immunity
- Diplomatic law
- Consular law