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2 Facts of State

From: Foreign Affairs in English Courts

F. A. Mann

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 29 June 2022

Subject(s):
Territory — Act of state — Sovereignty — Prerogative — Belligerence — Neutrality and non-alignment — Insurgents and insurrection — Diplomatic immunity — Recognition of states — Recognition of governments

The facts, circumstances, and events which lie at the root of foreign affairs and their conduct by the Executive have conveniently been described as facts of State. These are facts which are peculiarly within the cognisance of the Executive. For this reason, at any rate in so far as they are within the scope of the United Kingdom's Executive, they can be proved only in a special manner, namely by a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or by a statement made to the court by the Attorney-General rather than by other documentary or oral evidence. The idea underlying this practice is the familiar one: in matters relating to foreign affairs the judiciary and the Executive should speak with one voice. The scope of prerogative power is discussed, covering territory; state of war, belligerency, and neutrality; civil war or insurgency, immunity, abolition of a state, and government of a recognized state.

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