Herbage v Meese: 1990

(US) A claim was brought against British police officers and prosecuting counsel for knowingly and falsely stating, in the context of extradition proceedings against the claimant, that the United States had made a valid ‘provisional request’ for his extradition.
Held: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 does not discuss the liability or role of natural persons, whether governmental officials or private persons’, the sovereign immunity which it grants was held to extend to such persons: ‘This is a logical approach, for a government does not act but through its agents’. ‘The standard for determining whether immunity is warranted does not depend on the identity of the person or entity so much as the nature of the act for which the person or entity is claiming immunity’. Since the activity complained of was governmental in nature and performed by officials of that government, the Court had no jurisdiction ‘over a foreign sovereign’ and that the FSIA was ‘absolute in this regard, no matter how heinous the alleged illegalities’.


(1990) 747 F Supp 60


England and Wales

Cited by:

AppliedJaffe v Miller 1993
(Ontario Court of Appeal) Florida state officials were sued for alleged conspiracy maliciously to prosecute and to kidnap and detain the claimant, in order to blackmail him into giving up a civil suit.
Held: It is the character of the act, . .
CitedJones v Ministry of Interior Al-Mamlaka Al-Arabiya As Saudiya Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Another CA 28-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages alleging torture by the respondent whilst held in custody in Saudi Arabia.
Held: Although the state enjoyed freedom from action, where the acts were ones of torture, and action could proceed against state officials . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.219449