Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rules 1998 No. 41

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Foreign Affairs

International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963

International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Privileges and Immunities) Regulations 1998

Section 13 of the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with the Act, prescribing all matters required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for the carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ("the Tribunal") was established by Annex VI to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which entered into force generally and for Australia on 16 November 1994. Under Article 10 of Annex VI, parties are obliged to accord to members of the Tribunal, when engaged on Tribunal business, diplomatic privileges and immunities.

The purpose of the Regulations is to discharge this obligation. The Foreign Affairs and Trade Legislation Amendment Act 1997, which received the Royal Assent on 17 October 1997, inserted into the Act a new section 9B, which permits regulations to be made conferring on members of international tribunals established by an agreement to which Australia and one or more other countries are parties such privileges and immunities as are required to give effect to that agreement.

The Regulations give effect in Australian law to Article 10 of Annex VI by conferring on members of the Tribunal when engaged on business of the Tribunal the privileges and immunities of a diplomatic agent.

Details of the Regulations are as follows:

Regulation 1 is a citation clause.

Regulation 2 provides for the Regulations to commence on gazettal.

Regulation 3 is an interpretation provision.

Regulation 4 confers on members of the Tribunal engaged on business of the Tribunal the like privileges and immunities (including privileges and immunities in respect of a spouse or child under the age of twenty-one years) as are enjoyed by a diplomatic agent, with certain exceptions concerning motor traffic accidents and offences.

Regulation 5 allows the Tribunal to waive the privileges or immunities of members given by Regulation 4.

Regulation 6 provides that the privileges and immunities given by Regulation 4 are subject to Australian quarantine, import and export laws except to the extent that this would affect immunity from civil and criminal process.

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