Research Handbook on Jurisdiction and Immunities in International Law

Research Handbook on Jurisdiction and Immunities in International Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Alexander Orakhelashvili

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the international law of jurisdiction and immunities, illustrating those aspects in which the law of jurisdiction and law of immunities are mutually interdependent, as well as shedding light on the implications of that interdependence. With authoritative contributions from recognized experts, it offers an impartial perspective on the applicable international law, independent from any positions held in governmental or other institutional circles.

Chapter 12: Immunity from execution

Xiaodong Yang

Subjects: law - academic, public international law


It should not be assumed that, once a court has denied immunity to a defendant foreign state and decided that that foreign state lost the case, the claimant can simply go ahead and attach the assets of that foreign state to execute the judgment. Owing to historical reasons, particularly to the incremental nature of the process whereby the former absolute immunity doctrine was replaced by the now prevailing doctrine of restrictive immunity, there has been established in current law on state immunity a clear distinction between the issues related to the adjudicative process and those related to the process of enforcement and execution. To start with, three rules can be briefly noted here. First and foremost, a loss of immunity at the adjudicative stage does not automatically lead to a loss of immunity from enforcement and execution; second, enforcement or execution is permissible only with regard to property used for commercial or private purposes but not against property used for sovereign or public purposes; finally, certain categories of state property, such as diplomatic and military property, enjoy absolute immunity from execution.

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