Foreign Official Immunity
Foreign official immunity refers to international and domestic rules that shield foreign officials from suit. Diplomatic and consular immunity are governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, respectively. Under customary international law, “head-of-state” immunity provides absolute immunity to sitting heads of state, heads of government, and foreign ministers, whereas “conduct-based” immunity shields lower-level officials and former officials from suits based on acts taken in their official capacities. In the United States, head-of-state and conduct-based immunity are rules of federal common law.
Foreign official immunity refers to rules of international and domestic law that shield foreign officials from suit and from criminal prosecution. These rules are related to the rules of foreign sovereign immunity, codified in the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), but they differ from those rules in many respects. Rules of foreign official immunity…Continue Reading
In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States (Halkbank), the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal proceedings. The Court remanded Halkbank’s separate claim of common law immunity to the Second Circuit for reconsideration. On November 20, 2023, after two extensions, the United States filed its brief on remand. The U.S….Continue Reading
I recently had the pleasure of reading Footnotes to History: Law and Diplomacy by TLB contributor Mark Feldman. Mark spent sixteen years (1965-1981) at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where he helped write the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the Iran Claims Settlement Agreement. The…Continue Reading
This post discusses Foreign Relations Law as part of our series explaining how professors can use resources on TLB to teach various classes. Previous posts have discussed Transnational Litigation, Civil Procedure, International Business Transactions, and Conflict of Laws. Although TLB focuses on litigation, and Foreign Relations Law classes cover many topics that are rarely litigated, there is significant…Continue Reading