Foreign Sovereign Immunities

Foreign Sovereign Immunities

Jurisdiction of States

Note: This section covers also the Principles of Jurisdiction.

Immunities from Jurisdiction

The principle of sovereign equality of States requires that the official representatives of one State
should not be subject to the jurisdiction of another State. For example, the law of the sea
provides that warships are subject only to the jurisdiction of the flag State. Even if warships
commit acts contrary to the right of innocent passage or the laws and regulations of the coastal
State, the coastal StateÂ’s only remedy is to escort the offending warship out of the territorial sea.
The principle of State immunity or sovereign immunity provides that foreign sovereigns enjoy
immunity from the jurisdiction of other States. The principle of diplomatic immunity provides that
the diplomatic agents of the sending State have complete immunity from the criminal jurisdiction
of the receiving State. Since this immunity belongs to the sending State and not to the diplomat,
it can be waived by the sending State. Also, the receiving State has the right to expel any
diplomatic agent from its country by declaring them persona non grata. The premises of an
embassy or diplomatic mission as well as its records and archives are also inviolable. The
authorities of the receiving State cannot enter a foreign embassy without the express permission
of the head of mission, even in the case of an emergency.

International Sources

  • 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 21 U.S.T. 77, T.I.A.S. No. 6820, 596 U.N.T.S. 261 (entered into force for the United States Dec. 24, 1969)
  • 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 23 U.S.T. 3227, T.I.A.S. No. 7502, 500 U.N.T.S. 95 (entered into force for the United States Dec. 13, 1972)
  • Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation (Montreal Convention), 974 U.N.T.S. 178, 24 U.S.T. 564, T.I.A.S. No. 7570 (entered into force on Jan. 26, 1973)
  • Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, opened for signature Feb. 13, 1946, 21 U.S.T. 1418, T.I.A.S. No. 6900 (entered into force with respect to the United States Apr. 29, 1970)
  • Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (Hague Service Convention), Nov. 15, 1965
  • Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration (Panama Convention), Jan. 30, 1975, O.A.S.T.S. No. 42, 14 I.L.M. 336 (1975), implemented at 9 U.S.C. § 301 (2010)
  • International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, G.A. Res. 146 (XXXIV), U.N. GAOR, 34th Sess., Supp. No. 45, U.N. Doc. A/34/45, at 245 (June 3, 1983), 1316 U.N.T.S. 205, T.I.A.S. No. 1108, 18 ILM 1456 (entered into force for the United States Jan. 6, 1985)
  • International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID or Washington Convention), Mar. 18, 1965, 575 U.N.T.S. 159, 17 U.S.T. 1291, T.I.A.S. No. 6090
  • United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Dec. 10, 1984, ___ U.S.T. ___, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85
  • United Nations Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, G.A. Res. 59/38, Annex, U.N. Doc. A/RES/59/38 (Dec. 2, 2004)
  • U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (New York Convention), June 10, 1958, 21 U.S.T. 2517, 330 U.N.T.S. 3, implemented by Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 201-207 (2010)

Foreign Sovereign Immunity

This section covers the following:

  • Foreign Sovereign Immunities Doctrine
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunities Legislative History
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunities Mean
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunity Government
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunity in International Law
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunity Law
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunity Meaning

In the United States

For furhter information about the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, click here.

For a list of United States legal opinions relatad with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, click here.

United States Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976

This section covers the following:

  • Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Citation
  • U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Commercial Activity Exception
  • Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Definition
  • U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Exceptions
  • U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Instrumentality

United States Legislation: Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

In relation to the international law practice and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in this world legal Encyclopedia, please see the following section:

Privileges, Immunities



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