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What is State Immunity?

What is State Immunity?

State Immunity relates to the immunity a State has from prosecution in a foreign court. State Immunity, as a common law concept, is split into absolute and restrictive immunity.

 

Absolute immunity recognizes that sovereign acts are not matters upon which another sovereign’s court should adjudicate. A foreign State cannot be sued unless it wishes to submit to the jurisdiction of the court. Absolute State immunity applies in Hong Kong.

 

Restrictive immunity distinguishes between activities of a governmental or public nature carried out by a foreign State or one of its organs, and activities of a commercial nature. It is premised on the fact that governments engage in commercial activities in respect of which they should not enjoy immunity. It is mainly followed by developed nations such as the UK and USA. The PRC has repeatedly rejected the concept.

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