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Themes and Theories$
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Rosalyn Higgins

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262350.001.0001

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The Death Throes of Absolute Immunity: The Government of Uganda Before the English Courts

The Death Throes of Absolute Immunity: The Government of Uganda Before the English Courts

(p.345) 4.2 The Death Throes of Absolute Immunity: The Government of Uganda Before the English Courts
Themes and Theories

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

Oxford University Press

The State Immunity Act of 1978 (the Act) is now in effect in the United Kingdom. The case, Uganda Company (Holdings) Ltd. v Government of Uganda, is of considerable interest. It illustrates what will surely be a key problem for the next few years in both the United States and the United Kingdom: the relationship between the concepts of act of state and sovereign immunity. It also provides useful source material on the relationship between international and domestic law. The doctrine of transformation entailed the view that international law became the law of the forum by virtue of its principles being adopted by domestic law. It then became a rule of English law to which stare decisis applied. The doctrine of incorporation, by contrast, would permit an English court to identify the current state of international law and to apply it. More specifically, the Court of Appeal could give effect to changes in international law without waiting for the House of Lords to act first.

Keywords:   State Immunity Act, United Kingdom, United States, Uganda, act of state, sovereign immunity, international law, domestic law, doctrine of transformation, doctrine of incorporation

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