Search Legislation

State Immunity Act 1978

What Version

 Help about what version

Advanced Features

 Help about advanced features

Opening Options

 Help about opening options

Changes over time for: Cross Heading: Exceptions from immunity

 Help about opening options

Alternative versions:

Changes to legislation:

There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to State Immunity Act 1978. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.

Commencement Orders yet to be applied to the State Immunity Act 1978

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Commencement Orders

This section lists the commencement orders yet to be applied to the whole Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing. Where applicable the commencement orders are listed under two headings, firstly those that bring some part of the Act you are viewing into force and secondly, those that bring into force legislation that affects some part of the legislation you are viewing. If you are viewing a prospective version or there is a prospective version available there may be commencement orders listed here that are relevant to the provision you are viewing.

Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:

Exceptions from immunityE+W+S+N.I.

2 Submission to jurisdiction.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A State is not immune as respects proceedings in respect of which it has submitted to the jurisdiction of the courts of the United Kingdom.

(2)A State may submit after the dispute giving rise to the proceedings has arisen or by a prior written agreement; but a provision in any agreement that it is to be governed by the law of the United Kingdom is not to be regarded as a submission.

(3)A State is deemed to have submitted—

(a)if it has instituted the proceedings; or

(b)subject to subsections (4) and (5) below, if it has intervened or taken any step in the proceedings.

(4)Subsection (3)(b) above does not apply to intervention or any step taken for the purpose only of—

(a)claiming immunity; or

(b)asserting an interest in property in circumstances such that the State would have been entitled to immunity if the proceedings had been brought against it.

(5)Subsection (3)(b) above does not apply to any step taken by the State in ignorance of facts entitling it to immunity if those facts could not reasonably have been ascertained and immunity is claimed as soon as reasonably practicable.

(6)A submission in respect of any proceedings extends to any appeal but not to any counter-claim unless it arises out of the same legal relationship or facts as the claim.

(7)The head of a State’s diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom, or the person for the time being performing his functions, shall be deemed to have authority to submit on behalf of the State in respect of any proceedings; and any person who has entered into a contract on behalf of and with the authority of a State shall be deemed to have authority to submit on its behalf in respect of proceedings arising out of the contract.

3 Commercial transactions and contracts to be performed in United Kingdom.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to—

(a)a commercial transaction entered into by the State; or

(b)an obligation of the State which by virtue of a contract (whether a commercial transaction or not) falls to be performed wholly or partly in the United Kingdom.

(2)This section does not apply if the parties to the dispute are States or have otherwise agreed in writing; and subsection (1)(b) above does not apply if the contract (not being a commercial transaction) was made in the territory of the State concerned and the obligation in question is governed by its administrative law.

(3)In this section “commercial transaction” means—

(a)any contract for the supply of goods or services;

(b)any loan or other transaction for the provision of finance and any guarantee or indemnity in respect of any such transaction or of any other financial obligation; and

(c)any other transaction or activity (whether of a commercial, industrial, financial, professional or other similar character) into which a State enters or in which it engages otherwise than in the exercise of sovereign authority;

but neither paragraph of subsection (1) above applies to a contract of employment between a State and an individual.

4 Contracts of employment.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to a contract of employment between the State and an individual where the contract was made in the United Kingdom or the work is to be wholly or partly performed there.

(2)Subject to subsections (3) and (4) below, this section does not apply if—

(a)at the time when the proceedings are brought the individual is a national of the State concerned; or

(b)at the time when the contract was made the individual was neither a national of the United Kingdom nor habitually resident there; or

(c)the parties to the contract have otherwise agreed in writing.

(3)Where the work is for an office, agency or establishment maintained by the State in the United Kingdom for commercial purposes, subsection (2)(a) and (b) above do not exclude the application of this section unless the individual was, at the time when the contract was made, habitually resident in that State.

(4)Subsection (2)(c) above does not exclude the application of this section where the law of the United Kingdom requires the proceedings to be brought before a court of the United Kingdom.

(5)In subsection (2)(b) above “national of the United Kingdom[F1means—

(a)a British citizen, a British Dependent Territories citizen [F2a British National (Overseas)] or a British Overseas citizen; or

(b)a person who under the British Nationality Act 1981 is a British subject; or

(c)a British protected person (within the meaning of that Act)]

(6)In this section “proceedings relating to a contract of employment” includes proceedings between the parties to such a contract in respect of any statutory rights or duties to which they are entitled or subject as employer or employee.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

F2Words inserted by S.I. 1986/948, art. 8, Sch.

5 Personal injuries and damage to property.E+W+S+N.I.

A State is not immune as respects proceedings in respect of—

(a)death or personal injury; or

(b)damage to or loss of tangible property,

caused by an act or omission in the United Kingdom.

6 Ownership, possession and use of property.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to—

(a)any interest of the State in, or its possession or use of, immovable property in the United Kingdom; or

(b)any obligation of the State arising out of its interest in, or its possession or use of, any such property.

(2)A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to any interest of the State in movable or immovable property, being an interest arising by way of succession, gift or bona vacantia.

(3)The fact that a State has or claims an interest in any property shall not preclude any court from exercising in respect of it any jurisdiction relating to the estates of deceased persons or persons of unsound mind or to insolvency, the winding up of companies or the administration of trusts.

(4)A court may entertain proceedings against a person other than a State notwithstanding that the proceedings relate to property—

(a)which is in the possession or control of a State; or

(b)in which a State claims an interest,

if the State would not have been immune had the proceedings been brought against it or, in a case within paragraph (b) above, if the claim is neither admitted nor supported by prima facie evidence.

7 Patents, trade-marks etc. E+W+S+N.I.
Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to—

(a)any patent, trade-mark, design or plant breeders’ rights belonging to the State and registered or protected in the United Kingdom or for which the State has applied in the United Kingdom;

(b)an alleged infringement by the State in the United Kingdom of any patent, trade-mark, design, plant breeders’ rights or copyright; or

(c)the right to use a trade or business name in the United Kingdom.

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

8 Membership of bodies corporate etc.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to its membership of a body corporate, an unincorporated body or a partnership which—

(a)has members other than States; and

(b)is incorporated or constituted under the law of the United Kingdom or is controlled from or has its principal place of business in the United Kingdom,

being proceedings arising between the State and the body or its other members or, as the case may be, between the State and the other partners.

(2)This section does not apply if provision to the contrary has been made by an agreement in writing between the parties to the dispute or by the constitution or other instrument establishing or regulating the body or partnership in question.

9 Arbitrations.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)Where a State has agreed in writing to submit a dispute which has arisen, or may arise, to arbitration, the State is not immune as respects proceedings in the courts of the United Kingdom which relate to the arbitration.

(2)This section has effect subject to any contrary provision in the arbitration agreement and does not apply to any arbitration agreement between States.

10 Ships used for commercial purposes.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)This section applies to—

(a)Admiralty proceedings; and

(b)proceedings on any claim which could be made the subject of Admiralty proceedings.

(2)A State is not immune as respects—

(a)an action in rem against a ship belonging to that State; or

(b)an action in personam for enforcing a claim in connection with such a ship,

if, at the time when the cause of action arose, the ship was in use or intended for use for commercial purposes.

(3)Where an action in rem is brought against a ship belonging to a State for enforcing a claim in connection with another ship belonging to that State, subsection (2)(a) above does not apply as respects the first-mentioned ship unless, at the time when the cause of action relating to the other ship arose, both ships were in use or intended for use for commercial purposes.

(4)A State is not immune as respects—

(a)an action in rem against a cargo belonging to that State if both the cargo and the ship carrying it were, at the time when the cause of action arose, in use or intended for use for commercial purposes; or

(b)an action in personam for enforcing a claim in connection with such a cargo if the ship carrying it was then in use or intended for use as aforesaid.

(5)In the foregoing provisions references to a ship or cargo belonging to a State include references to a ship or cargo in its possession or control or in which it claims an interest; and, subject to subsection (4) above, subsection (2) above applies to property other than a ship as it applies to a ship.

(6)Sections 3 to 5 above do not apply to proceedings of the kind described in subsection (1) above if the State in question is a party to the Brussels Convention and the claim relates to the operation of a ship owned or operated by that State, the carriage of cargo or passengers on any such ship or the carriage of cargo owned by that State on any other ship.

11 Value added tax, customs duties etc.E+W+S+N.I.

A State is not immune as respects proceedings relating to its liability for—

(a)value added tax, any duty of customs or excise or any agricultural levy; or

(b)rates in respect of premises occupied by it for commercial purposes.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enactedversion that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

Timeline of Changes

This timeline shows the different points in time where a change occurred. The dates will coincide with the earliest date on which the change (e.g an insertion, a repeal or a substitution) that was applied came into force. The first date in the timeline will usually be the earliest date when the provision came into force. In some cases the first date is 01/02/1991 (or for Northern Ireland legislation 01/01/2006). This date is our basedate. No versions before this date are available. For further information see the Editorial Practice Guide and Glossary under Help.

Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources