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Members of the Family of a Diplomatic Agent

From: Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (4th Edition)

Eileen Denza

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 07 December 2023

Diplomatic immunity — Diplomatic missions — Diplomatic relations — Diplomatic privileges — Special missions

This chapter examines Article 37.1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which addresses the family members of a diplomatic agent. The Article states that the members of the family of a diplomatic agent forming part of his household shall, if they are not nationals of the receiving State, enjoy the privileges and immunities specified in Articles 29 to 36. This practice traces its roots back to the second half of the seventeenth century when permanent missions gradually replaced special missions as the normal form of representation, and diplomats would spend several years in a post. Diplomats would then to bring with him his immediate family as well as a retinue of servants to minister to his comforts and enhance his prestige. The rationale for extending privileges and immunities to the immediate families of diplomatic agents has remained largely unchallenged under the Convention regime as it is still followed today.

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