Search form

Diplomatic privileges and immunities usually receive attention only when exceptions or abuses are reported in the news.

Starting with the evolution of diplomatic privileges and immunities and ending with the question of whether the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations should be revisited in the Internet era, this course introduces participants to diplomatic law in general and diplomatic privileges and immunities in particular.  Combining a theoretical introduction with practical exercises, participants will become familiar with current developments in the field of diplomatic privileges and immunities.

 
 
ALL OUR COURSES
SUBSCRIBE FOR COURSE UPDATES
Open for applications: No
Application deadline: Credit: 21 May 2018;
Certificate: 18 June 2018
Start date: 23 July 2018
Duration: 10 weeks
Fees: Certificate: €650; Credit: €790; Scholarships available
Course code: IRL 5016
ECTS credits: 9
Mode(s) of study: Credit - Certificate - Master/PGD

Lecturers

Mr Alan Franklin

Alan Franklin obtained an LLB and JD from the University of Toronto and an LLM in international law from the London School of Economics.  He is currently living in Vancouver, Canada, teaching courses on international legal business risk...

Dr Jovan Kurbalija

Dr Jovan Kurbalija is the Founding Director of DiploFoundation and the Head of the Geneva Internet Platform. A former diplomat, Dr Kurbalija has a professional and academic background in international law, diplomacy, and information technolo...

Course details

Diplomatic privileges and immunities usually receive attention only when exceptions or abuses are reported in the news.

Starting with the evolution of diplomatic privileges and immunities and ending with the question of whether the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations should be revisited in the Internet era, this course introduces participants to diplomatic law in general and diplomatic privileges and immunities in particular.  Combining a theoretical introduction with practical exercises, participants will become familiar with current developments in the field of diplomatic privileges and immunities.

By the end of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the difference between the concepts of immunities, privileges and facilities, providing examples of each.
  • Describe the legal basis of diplomatic privileges and immunities, including as it relates to individuals, states and representatives, diplomatic missions, and consular missions.
  • Explain the theoretical justifications for privileges and immunities and how regulation has evolved.
  • Describe the privileges and immunities of states and their representatives (including heads of states and governments, other ministers and officials, diplomatic missions and diplomatic agents).
  • Compare and contrast the privileges and immunities of diplomatic missions and agents with those of consular missions and agents.
  • Analyse cases of use and abuse of diplomatic privileges and immunities in the modern era, and taking these into account, argue in favour of, or against, revisions to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Excerpt from course materials

… Illegal parking is a particular problem in the main centres of multilateral diplomacy such as New York City, Geneva, Vienna, Paris, and London. The magnitude of the problem can be illustrated by the fact that between November 1997 and the end of 2002, diplomats in the US accumulated 150,000 unpaid parking tickets – a total of US $18 million of unpaid fines…The authorities of a receiving state may choose different strategies to enforce local parking regulations in spite of diplomatic privileges and immunities… In many diplomatic centres, the first step is to introduce proper evidence and reporting to the head of a diplomatic mission… The next step is to make those reports public. Publicity puts additional pressure on diplomats and diplomatic missions to observe local parking rules.

Course outline

  1. Principles and Concepts, Evolution and Instruments: We look at the difference between the concepts of immunities, privileges, and facilities, and the historical evolution of privileges and immunities. We describe the main legal instruments that regulate privileges and immunities: mainly international conventions and treaties, and finally focus on the different theoretical justifications for privileges and immunities.
  2. Privileges and Immunities of States: Starting by defining state immunity, we also examine the general source of legitimacy of privilege and immunity in customary law and conventions. We study how law and conventions form and condition absolute and qualified state immunity, closing with an examination of specific cases of immunity: heads of state and governments; immunities of ministers, state officials and parliamentarians; and ministers of foreign affairs.
  3. Immunities of Diplomatic Missions: In order to represent their sending states, diplomatic missions need appropriate status so that they are not subject to the jurisdiction and power of receiving states. We discuss the types and functions of diplomatic missions and take a close look at the immunities accorded to diplomatic missions.
  4. Privileges and Facilities Accorded to Diplomats and Missions: We further examine the facilities and privileges accorded to diplomatic missions and individual diplomatic agents, in particular inviolability of communication and freedom of movement. These privileges rest on the authority of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which we analyse carefully.
  5. Immunities of Diplomatic Agents: The purpose of granting immunities and privileges to diplomats is to enable them to carry out their functions effectively. Although personal immunities and privileges of a diplomatic agent apply directly, in fact, they are awarded to the sending state and the individual diplomat enjoys them only in his or her capacity as an agent of the state.
  6. Consular Privileges and Immunities: We consider the codification of consular law, then we examine the regulations that govern the establishment of consular relations. We also outline the regulations governing consular posts and consular functions, as well as the privileges, immunities, and facilities they are granted. Finally, we look at the privileges and immunities of consular officers.
  7. Special Missions and International Organisations: We define privileges and immunities of international organisations and their legal and conceptual foundations, using the UN as our primary example. Following from the rights of organisations, international civil servants have certain privileges and immunities. The privileges and immunities of missions to international organisations are distinct from those of diplomatic missions.
  8. Abuse of Privileges and Immunities: Should the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations be revisited? Diplomatic privileges and immunities usually receive attention only when exceptions or abuses are reported in the news. We examine some of these issues, most notably traffic violations, the protection of public order, London’s congestion charge, and abuse of the diplomatic bag. Finally, we examine whether a revision of the Vienna Convention is needed and wanted.
 
 

This course will be of interest to:

  • Practising diplomats, civil servants, and others working in international relations who want to refresh or expand their knowledge under the guidance of experienced practitioners and academics.
  • Postgraduate students of diplomacy or international relations wishing to study topics not offered through their university programmes or diplomatic academies and to gain deeper insight through interaction with practising diplomats.
  • Postgraduate students or practitioners in other fields seeking an entry point into the world of diplomacy.
  • Journalists, staff of international and non-governmental organisations, translators, business people and others who interact with diplomats and wish to improve their understanding of diplomacy-related topics.
 
 

This course is conducted entirely online over a period of ten weeks. Reading materials and tools for online interaction are provided through an online classroom. Each week, participants read the provided lecture text, adding questions, comments and references in the form of hypertext entries. Lecturers and other participants read and respond to these entries, creating interaction based on the lecture text. During the week, participants complete additional online activities (e.g. further discussion via blogs or forums, quizzes, group tasks, simulations or short assignments). At the end of the week, participants and lecturers meet online in a chat room to discuss the week’s topic. To complete the course successfully, participants must write several essay assignments. Courses are based on a collaborative approach to learning, involving a high level of interaction.

This course requires a minimum of five to seven hours of study time per week.

 
 

All course applicants must have regular access to the Internet (dial-up connection is sufficient, although broadband is preferable).

Applicants for certificate courses must have:

  • An undergraduate university degree OR three years of work experience and appropriate professional qualifications in diplomacy or international relations.
  • Sufficient ability in the English language to undertake postgraduate level studies (including reading academic texts, discussing complex concepts with other course participants, and submitting written essay assignments of up to 2500 words in length).

Applicants for accredited courses must meet University of Malta prerequisites:

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject with at least Second Class Honours.
  • Proof of English language proficiency obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; Internet-based – 95. IELTS: 6.5. Cambridge: Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). If when applying you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results, the University may issue a conditional letter of acceptance.
 
 

Course fees depend on whether you wish to obtain university credit for the course:

  • €790 (University of Malta Accredited Course)
  • €650 (Diplo Certificate Course)

Applicants must pay full fees upon official acceptance into the course. The fee includes:

  • Tuition fee
  • Access to all course materials online, via Diplo’s online classroom
  • Personal interaction via the online classroom with course lecturers, staff and other participants
  • Online technical support
  • University of Malta application fee (for University of Malta Accredited Courses only)
  • Access, via the Internet, to the University of Malta e-journal collection (University of Malta Accredited Courses only
  • For Diplo Certificate Courses, postgraduate level e-certificate issued by DiploFoundation on successful completion of course requirements (interaction and participation, all assignments) which can be printed or shared electronically via a permanent link

Financial assistance

Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution. A limited number of partial scholarships are available for diplomats and others working in international relations from developing countries.

To apply for a scholarship please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

As Diplo's ability to offer scholarship support is limited, candidates are strongly encouraged to seek scholarship funding directly from local or international institutions. Our guide to Finding Scholarships for Online Study may provide you with some useful starting points.

 
 

A number of routes for application are available:


Apply for a Diplo Certificate Course

Applicants for certificate courses should apply online.

If you are applying for financial assistance, please upload your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include:

  • Details of your relevant professional and educational background.
  • Reasons for your interest in the course.
  • Why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country?

Please note that financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries. Late applications will be considered if there are spaces available in the course.


Apply for a University of Malta Accredited Course

Complete application packages must be received by specified application deadlines in order to be considered.

  1. Two copies of the University of Malta application form filled out in full (download form for overseas applicants; download form for applicants with Maltese qualifications).
  2. Certified copies of original degree(s) and official transcripts.
  3. English translations of degree(s) and transcripts if they are not in English, signed and stamped by translator.
  4. English language proficiency certificate obtained within the last two years (minimum requirements TOEFL: paper-based – 650; Internet-based – 95. IELTS: 6.5. Cambridge: Proficiency Certificate with Grade C or better). Please indicate on the application form if you are still waiting for your English language proficiency results.
  5. Photocopy of personal details pages of your passport.
  6. If you are requesting financial assistance, please include your CV and a motivation letter with your application. The motivation letter should include details of your relevant professional and educational background; reasons for your interest in the course; and why you feel you should have the opportunity to participate in this course: i.e. how will your participation benefit you, your institution and/or your country? Financial assistance from DiploFoundation is available only to applicants from developing countries.
  7. Application fee or proof of payment (€100 – non-refundable – see methods of payment).

Please mail complete application packages to the address at the bottom of the page.


Cancellation Policy

Diplo reserves the right to cancel this course if enrolment is insufficient. In case of cancellation, Diplo will notify applicants shortly after the application deadline. Applicants who have paid an application fee may apply this fee towards another course or receive a refund.

 
 

Contact admissions

DiploFoundation (attn Tanja Nikolic)

Anutruf, Ground Floor
Hriereb Street
Msida, MSD 1675, Malta
Tel: +356 21 333 323; Fax: +356 21 315 574
admissions@diplomacy.edu

Scroll to Top