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IMMUNITY (from Lat. immunis, not subj...

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 339 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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IMMUNITY (from Lat. immunis, not subject to a munus or public service), a general term for exemption from liability, principally used in the legal sense discussed below, but also in recent times in pathology (for which see BACTERIOLOGY). In international law the term (" not serving," "not subject") implies exemption from the jurisdiction of the state which otherwise exercises jurisdiction where the immunity arises. It is thus applied to the exceptional position granted to sovereigns and chiefs of states generally, and their direct representatives in the states to which they are accredited. Under ExTERRITORIALITY is treated the inviolability of embassies and legations and the application of the material side of the doctrine of immunity. As a right appertaining to the persons of those who enjoy it, the doctrine has grown out of the necessity for sovereigns of respecting each other's persons in their common interest. To be able to negotiate without danger of arrest or interference of any kind with their persons was the only condition upon which sovereigns would have been able to meet and discuss their joint interests. With the development of states as independent entities and of intercourse between them and their " nationals," the work of diplomatic missions increased to such an extent that instead of having merely occasional ambassadors as at the beginning, states found it expedient to have resident representatives with a permanent residence. Hence the sovereign's inviolability becomes vested in the person of the sovereign's delegate, and with it as a necessary corollary the exterritoriality of his residence. Out of the further expansion of the work of diplomatic missions came duplication of the personnel and classes of diplomatic secretaries, who as forming part of the embassy or legation also h d to be covered by the diplomatic immunity. In no branch of international intercourse h states shown so laudable a respect for tradition as in the case of this immunity, and this in spite of the hardship which frequently arises for private citizens through unavoidable dealings with members of embassies and legations. The Institute of International Law (see PEACE) at their Cambridge session in 1895 drew up the following rules,' which may be taken to be the only precise statement of theory on the subject, for the guidance of foreign offices in dealing with it:
End of Article: IMMUNITY (from Lat. immunis, not subject to a munus or public service)
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