Protocol Directorate owns a significant amount of primary and secondary legislation. The primary legislation comprises Acts of Parliament, including the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, and the International Organisations Acts 1965 & 1968. The secondary legislation is made up of Statutory Instruments (SIs), often referred to as Orders in Council. It is enforced by the FCO, other government departments and other key stakeholders.
The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) provides the full text of Acts from 1988 onwards and SIs from 1987 onwards. These can be downloaded free of charge. It is possible to search by subject, date and type of legislation.
Legislation that was published before these dates can be purchased from TSO (The Stationery Office), the supplier of official publications. It can also be consulted via public, academic and some company libraries.
For diplomatic missions the primary legislation outlining privileges and immunities is the Diplomatic Privileges Acts (1964 and 1971) which enshrine in UK law the VCDR and VCCR.
For international organisations, each one has its own specifically tailored pieces of secondary legislation (SIs) and Headquarters Agreements (where applicable) based on each organisation’s functional requirements. These are normally based on the UK primary legislation, being the International Organisations Acts 1965, 1968 and 2005, or the EU Protocol on Privileges and Immunities for the European Communities 1975.
Some general useful pieces of legislation, international treaties and sources of legal information for diplomatic missions and international organisations, include:
• Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961
• Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
• Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964
• Diplomatic and other Privileges Act 1971
• Immigration Act 1977
• International Organisations Act 2005
• Finance Act 2000
• Civil Partnerships Act 2004
• EU Protocol on Privileges and Immunities for the European Communities 1965 and 1972
• EU Directive 77/388/EC
• ‘Diplomatic Law’ by Eileen Denza (2nd Edition ISBN 0-19-826582-4)
• ‘Modern Treaty Law and Practice’ by Anthony Aust (ISBN-10: 052159846X)