Duke of Brunswick v The King of Hanover: HL 31 Jul 1948

The Duke claimed that the King of Hanover had been involved in the removal of the Duke from his position as reigning Duke and in the maladministration of his estates.
Held: ‘A foreign Sovereign, coming into this country cannot be made responsible here for an act done in his Sovereign character in his own country; whether it be an act right or wrong, whether according to the constitution of that country or not, the Courts of this country cannot sit in judgment upon an act of a Sovereign, effected by virtue of his Sovereign authority abroad, an act not done as a British subject, but supposed to be done in the exercise of his authority vested in him as Sovereign.’ and ‘If it be a matter of sovereign authority, we cannot try that fact, whether it be right or wrong. The allegation that it is contrary to the laws of Hanover, taken in conjunction with the allegation of the authority under which the defendant had acted, must be conceded to be an allegation, not that it was contrary to the existing laws as regulating the right of individuals, but that it was contrary to the laws and duties and rights and powers of a Sovereign exercising Sovereign authority. If that be so, it does not require another observation to shew, because it has not been doubted, that no Court in this country can entertain questions to bring Sovereigns to account for their acts done in their sovereign capacities abroad.’
Lord Chancellor
(1848) 2 HL Cas 1, (1844) 6 Beav 1, [1848] EngR 794, (1848) 2 HLC 1, (1848) 9 ER 993
England and Wales
Appeal fromCharles Duke of Brunswick v The King of Hanover 13-Jan-1844
Discussion of the question whether a sovereign prince was liable to the jurisdiction of the Courts of a foreign country, in which he happens to be resident, and as to the liability to suit of one who unites in himself the characters both of an . .

Cited by:
ApprovedButtes Gas and Oil Co v Hammer (No 3) HL 1981
In a defamation action, issues arose as to two conflicting oil concessions which neighbouring states in the Arabian Gulf had granted over their territorial and offshore waters. The foreign relations of the United Kingdom and Iran were also involved . .
CitedRegina v Bartle and The Commissioner Of Police For The Metropolis and Others Ex Parte Pinochet Ugarte, Regina v Evans and Another and The Commissioner of Police For The Metropolis and Others (No 1) HL 22-Nov-1998
The government of Spain had issued an arrest warrant and application for extradition in respect of Pinochet Ugarte for his alleged crimes whilst president of Chile. He was arrested in England. He pleaded that he had immunity from prosecution.
CitedRegina v Bartle and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Others, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte; Regina v Evans and Similar (No 3) HL 24-Mar-1999
An application to extradite a former head of state for an offence which was not at the time an offence under English law would fail, but could proceed in respect of allegations of acts after that time. No immunity was intended for heads of state. . .
CitedRegina v Jones (Margaret), Regina v Milling and others HL 29-Mar-2006
Domestic Offence requires Domestic Defence
Each defendant sought to raise by way of defence of their otherwise criminal actions, the fact that they were attempting to prevent the commission by the government of the crime of waging an aggressive war in Iraq, and that their acts were . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ex parte British Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations and Another Admn 19-Mar-1998
The applicants sought judicial review of the respondent’s decision to support the application for admission to the Eurorpean Community of Cyprus.
Held: Leave was refused: ‘the independence of Cyprus since 17th August 1960 forecloses any power . .
AppliedUnderhill v Hernandez 29-Nov-1897
(US Supreme Court) Underhill, a US citizen, had constructed a waterworks in Bolivar for the government which was eventually overthrown by revolutionary forces, one of whose generals was Hernandez. After Hernandez had captured Bolivar, Underhill . .
CitedLucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another SC 27-Jul-2011
The claimant had produced the Star War films which made use of props, in particular a ‘Stormtrooper’ helmet designed by the defendant. The defendant had then himself distributed models of the designs he had created. The appellant obtained judgment . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 June 2021; Ref: scu.220683