Diplomatic Immunity

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 19th April 2016.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Labour, Bishop Auckland

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department takes to ensure claims for diplomatic immunity are authentic.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 the sending State must make certain that the agrément of the receiving State has been given for the person it proposes to accredit as its head of mission (Article 4). The UK also requires sending States to submit the names of military, naval and air attaches for approval (Article 7). Diplomatic missions are further required to notify the receiving State of the arrival of all members of the mission and their accompanying family members (Article 10). If a foreign national resident in the UK claimed diplomatic status, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) would check whether the person’s name was on its database of foreign diplomats and their families, as notified to the FCO by the sending State. As necessary, the FCO would also seek confirmation from the relevant diplomatic mission.

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