Diplomatic Immunity

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The Glas Case: Diplomatic Asylum Returns to the ICJ?

All opinions expressed in this blog post are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization. On 5 April 2024, in the middle of the night, law enforcement agents of the Republic of Ecuador broke into the Mexican Embassy in Quito and apprehended Jorge David Glas Espinel, former Vice President of Ecuador. Glas had been sentenced to six years imprisonment and, when faced with new criminal proceedings, sought asylum in the Mexican diplomatic mission, which was granted pending the conferral of territorial asylum in Mexico. In its public statement following the raid, Ecuador described the granting of diplomatic asylum to Glas as an abuse of privileges and immunities, entitling it to proceed to the apprehension of the asylee. The raid on the Embassy is the culmination of escalating tensions between Ecuador and Mexico, which started over comments made by the Mexican Government regarding Ecuador’s elections, leading to the Mexican Ambassador in Quito being declared persona non grata and expelled. In response to…

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Diplomatic Immunity, Modern Slavery and the “Commercial Activity” Exception:  The UK Supreme Court in Basfar v Wong

Can a diplomat assert their immunity from suit in a claim for breach of employment rights brought by a domestic servant working for them in their residence, in circumstances in which that diplomat has trafficked that servant into the United Kingdom and forced that servant to work in conditions of modern slavery? In the landmark decision…

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The Waiver of Immunity of Catalan MEPs: Reintroducing Politics in EU Extradition Law

On 8 March 2021, the European Parliament voted to lift the immunity of Catalan MEPs, Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati. Although this long-lasting saga is far from being over as Puigdemont already announced his intention to bring the case before the CJEU on procedural grounds, this decision would theoretically enable Spanish authorities to resume the European arrest…

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Diplomats or fonctionnaires? The Contested Status of the EU’s ‘Embassy’ in the UK

May the European Union have a full diplomacy, on a par with States? This issue has been problematic since 1954, when the European Coal and Steel Community opened its first delegation – in London. Already in 1961, Pescatore wrote that ‘it is clear why the use of the term “diplomatic” to designate the Community’s missions in third…

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Diplomatic Immunity Trumps Children’s Rights, the English High Court Reluctantly Concludes: A Comment on A Local Authority v AG [2020] EWFC 18

This case concerned proceedings brought by a local authority to protect three children, specifically seeking a care order under Part IV of the Children Act 1989. There were credible allegations that the children had been physically abused by both their parents. On the evidence before him, Mostyn J thought it ‘extremely unlikely’ that the parents ‘would be…

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