How Immune Are State Agents From Foreign Courts?

By Andrew Stafford QC and Oleg Shaulko (November 16, 2021, 4:41 PM EST) -- The conduct of present or former state officials and diplomats is generally veiled from judicial scrutiny by foreign courts. On those relatively rare occasions upon which a foreign court is required to adjudicate issues, the opinions and judgments that the courts deliver have a lasting significance.

Two cases have recently bubbled to the surface in the U.K. — one of which awaits judgment from the U.K. Supreme Court. In each case, the issue involved questions as to the boundary between the exercise of sovereign authority, and commercial or private activity.

In September in the case of Surkis v. Porshenko,[1] the English...

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