- State Immunity Act 1978
The State Immunity Act 1978 is an Act made by the
Parliament of the United Kingdomin order to implement the European Convention on State Immunity of 1972into British law. The doctrine of absolute state immunitywas changed to one of restricted immunity, whereby a foreign state could be sued in the British Courts for some certain activities, usually of a commercial nature.
In 1998 the defence attempted to use it during
Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trial, but Lord Nicholls said that the Act flouted a battery of international legislation on human rights abuses to which Britain is a signatory, and would have meant, according to the arguments of Pinochet's legal team, that British law would have protected even Adolf Hitler.
2006the law was used to dismiss an appeal by three Britons ( Sandy Mitchell, "Les Walker" and "Ron Jones") and a Canadian(William Sampson) who were convicted and imprisoned for car bombings and illicit alcohol trading in Saudi Arabia. The Law Lordsupheld an appeal by the government of Saudi Arabia against the four men who wished to sue the Saudi government for damages relating to alleged torture. Despite the ruling, the four continue to maintain that they were mistreated by Saudi officials both before and after they were jailed in November 2000. They were released from prison in 2003on royal pardon. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5078118.stm]
* [http://www.swarb.co.uk/acts/1978State_ImmunityAct.shtml Summary of important sections of the Act]
* [http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld199900/ldjudgmt/jd000720/hollan-2.htm House of Lords judgment in Holland v. Lampen-Wolfe]
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