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State Immunity in Norwegian Courts

Recent Developments, Current Challenges and the Way Forward

In: Nordic Journal of International Law
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  • 1 Director of Section for Treaty Law, Environmental Law and the Law of the Sea in the Legal Department of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, Norway, amkr@mfa.no
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Abstract

The article seeks to clarify the scope of state immunity in civil proceedings before Norwegian courts based on recent jurisprudence and other sources of law, both domestic and international. While the concept of restrictive state immunity is now widely seen as settled law, determining the boundaries between government and private acts, and thus the precise scope of state immunity, is inherently challenging. The article examines recent Norwegian case law on state immunity, highlighting commonalities and inconsistencies in the jurisprudence, including with respect to the courts’ reliance on the 2004 United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, which Norway has ratified. The article concludes that the 2004 Convention has, in whole or in part, achieved customary law status and represents a major step forward towards a truly global framework within which national courts can adjudicate state immunity. The article concludes that future cases on state immunity before Norwegian courts should be adjudicated on the basis of the 2004 Convention.

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