Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date




The immunities regimes covered by this volume presuppose the existence of juridically equal States whose interactions are governed by international law. States engage in international relations with each other through a variety of agents, who could be individuals or legal persons; and States likewise establish international organizations for carrying out shared purposes. Each State has a domestic legal system through which State actors generate various sorts of executive, judicial and legislative practice, all of which can in principle be evidence of the international law of immunities.

The several regimes relevant to the immunities of the State itself, and of international organisations created by States, and of individuals acting under the authority of the State or of international organisations, are governed by multiple different bodies of international law, all of which are amenable in principle to analysis in terms of the classic enumeration of sources in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), namely (a) international conventions, (b) customary international law, (c) general principles of law and (d) judicial decisions and the teachings of publicists as subsidiary means for determination of rules of law. The sections that follow will take up these diverse sources, beginning with the sources of law applicable to the jurisdictional immunities of the State itself (Section II) and international organisations created by States (Section III), then turning to immunities of individuals acting under the authority of, or in relation to, States and international organizations (Section IV), and concluding with discussion of a series of recent and pending cases in which international and national tribunals have considered the same issues of immunity, while not always agreeing on how to do so (Section V). These pairs of international and national cases illustrate the image suggested by the title of this chapter – that the sources of immunity law lie ‘between’ or at the connecting points of international and domestic law.


International Law | Jurisdiction | Law


This material has been published in "The Cambridge Handbook of Immunities and International Law", edited by Tom Ruys, Nicolas Angelet, and Luca Ferro. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.