immunity from suit


immunity from suit
The removal of certain persons or things from the exercise of jurisdiction for reasons of public policy. The established principle of jurisprudence, applicable in favor of the United States and a state, that the sovereign cannot be sued in its own courts, or in any other court, without its consent and permission. 49 Am J1st States § 91; 54 Am J1st US § 127. There can be no legal right as against the authority that makes the law on which the right depends. A sovereign is exempt from suit, not because of any formal conception of obsolete theory, but on this logical and practical ground. Holmes, J., in Kawananakoa v Polybank, 205 US 349, 51 L Ed 834, 27 S Ct 526. Such immunity is a high attribute of sovereignty –a prerogative of the state itself –which cannot be availed of by public agents when sued for their own torts. The Eleventh Amendment to the Federal Constitution was not intended to afford them freedom from liability in any case where, under color of their office, they have injured one of the state's citizens. To grant them such an immunity would be to create a privileged class free from liability for wrongs inflicted or injuries threatened. Public agents must be liable to the law, unless they are to be put above the law. Old Colony Trust Co. v Seattle, 271 US 426, 431, 70 L Ed 1019, 1022, 46 S Ct 552.

Ballentine's law dictionary. . 1998.