Freedom With Their Exception: Jurisdiction and Immunity as Rule and Exception
Exceptions and Defences in International Law, pp. 225-241, Federica Paddeu and Lorand Bartels, eds, Oxford University Press, 2019
26 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2017 Last revised: 6 Mar 2023
Date Written: December 13, 2017
The relationship between the rules on state jurisdiction and sovereign immunity, as well as the rules of sovereign immunity between themselves, has been the subject of long-standing debate among international lawyers, as well as international and domestic courts. Although the starting point of any discussion is the jurisdiction of the territorial state, it is also accepted that domestic courts are barred from exercising such jurisdiction over acts of another sovereign. This latter rule has its own exceptions, namely that a foreign state is not entitled to immunity for acts performed in a commercial capacity and certain other limited circumstances. What are the consequences of such a rule-exception-exception to the exception relationship, and do they affect the waiver of immunity, the burden of proof, or the interpretation of these norms? This chapter argues that the relationship between jurisdiction and immunity as rule and exception has, in the final analysis, no particular normative weight in their application and interpretation by courts and other law-applying actors.
Keywords: state jurisdiction, sovereign immunity, state practice, rule and exception, defences, exceptions and defences. consent, waiver, burden of proof, restrictive interpretation
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