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Domestic Immunities

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the conflict between those immunities and the right of access to court. It deals with the liability of public authorities under English law. The cases concerning the liability of British public authorities are closely connected with the question whether or not a "civil right" existed within the meaning of Article 6 (1). The concept of parliamentary immunity was established some four hundred years ago. However, the degree to which parliamentary free speech is protected varies across the European continent. Before deciding on the case of A v. the United Kingdom, the Court conducted an extensive comparative law analysis on the scope of parliamentary immunity in the Contracting States. Parliamentary immunity is recognised by all Contracting States and serves the legitimate aims of protecting free speech in Parliament and maintaining the separation of powers between the legislature and the judiciary.

Keywords: civil right; English law; liability; parliamentary immunity; public authorities



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