Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempt from the jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations. Extraterritoriality can also be applied to physical places, such as military base
Military base
A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. In general, a military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a...

s of foreign countries, or offices of the United Nations. The three most common cases recognized today internationally relate to the persons and belongings of foreign heads of state, the persons and belongings of ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

s and certain other diplomatic agents, and ships in foreign waters.

Extraterritoriality is often extended to friendly or allied militaries, particularly for the purposes of allowing that military to simply pass through one's territory.

It is distinguished from personal jurisdiction in the sense that extraterritoriality operates to the prejudice of local jurisdiction.

Historical cases

During the thirteen and fourteenth centuries, the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 sea republics
The term thalassocracy refers to a state with primarily maritime realms—an empire at sea, such as Athens or the Phoenician network of merchant cities...

 of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 and Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 managed to wrestle extraterritoriality for their quarters (Pera
Beyoğlu is a district located on the European side of İstanbul, Turkey, separated from the old city by the Golden Horn...

 and Galata
Galata or Galatae is a neighbourhood in the Beyoğlu district on the European side of Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey. Galata is located at the northern shore of the Golden Horn, the inlet which separates it from the historic peninsula of old Constantinople. The Golden Horn is crossed by...

) in the Byzantine capital, Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

They even battled among themselves for further control of the weakened empire.

Perhaps the most well-known cases of historical extraterritoriality concerned European nationals in 19th century China and Japan under the unequal treaties
Unequal Treaties
“Unequal treaty” is a term used in specific reference to a number of treaties imposed by Western powers, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, on Qing Dynasty China and late Tokugawa Japan...

. Extraterritoriality was imposed upon China in the Treaty of Nanking
Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China...

, resulting from the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

. Shanghai in particular became a major center of foreign activity, as it contained two extraterritorial zones, the International Settlement
Shanghai International Settlement
The Shanghai International Settlement began originally as a purely British settlement. It was one of the original five treaty ports which were established under the terms of the Treaty of Nanking at the end of the first opium war in the year 1842...

and the French Concession. Chinese and non-treaty nationals in these settlements were subject to Chinese law but, until 1927, were tried by a hybrid Mixed Court which had a Chinese judge and foreign assessor sitting on it. Foreign Nationals of treaty powers were tried by consular courts. Great Britain established the British Supreme Court for China and Japan
British Supreme Court for China and Japan
The British Supreme Court for China and Japan was a court established in the Shanghai International Settlement in 1865 to try cases against British subjects in China and Japan, and from 1883, Korea, under the principles of Extraterritoriality. The court also heard appeals from consular courts in...

 in Shanghai in 1865 and America the United States Court for China
United States Court for China
The United States Court for China was a United States District Court that had extraterritorial jurisdiction over U.S. citizens in China. It existed from 1906 to 1943 and had jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters, with appeals taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San...

 in the early 20th Century.

Extraterritorial rights were not limited to Western nations; Japan and China granted each other reciprocal extraterritorial rights when both opened to trade. Later, in 1895, under the Treaty of Shimonoseki
Treaty of Shimonoseki
The Treaty of Shimonoseki , known as the Treaty of Maguan in China, was signed at the Shunpanrō hall on April 17, 1895, between the Empire of Japan and Qing Empire of China, ending the First Sino-Japanese War. The peace conference took place from March 20 to April 17, 1895...

 China gave up its extraterritorial rights in Japan and Japan obtained further rights in China. Japan later claimed extraterritorial privileges elsewhere in Asia.

These extraterritorialities officially ended only during or after the end of World War II. The last example of extraterritorial jurisdiction maintained by the United States was in Morocco, which ended in 1957.

Japan recognized extraterritoriality in the treaties concluded with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, and Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in 1858, in connection with the concept of the "most favoured nation
Most favoured nation
In international economic relations and international politics, most favoured nation is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade. The term means the country which is the recipient of this treatment must, nominally, receive equal trade advantages as the...

". However, Japan succeeded in reforming its unequal status with Britain through the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation
Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation
The signed by Britain and Japan, on July 16, 1894, was a breakthrough agreement; it heralded the end of the unequal treaties and the system of extraterritoriality in Japan. The treaty came into force on July 17, 1899....

 signed on 16 July 1894 in London. Similar treaties were signed with other extraterritorial powers at the same time. These treaties all came into effect in 1899.

Extraterritoriality in China for non-diplomatic personnel ended at various times in the twentieth century. Germany and Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 lost their rights in China in 1917 after China joined the allies in World War I; the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 gave up its rights in China in 1924; the United States and United Kingdom gave up their rights in 1943; Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Japan gave up their rights by virtue of being at war with China in World War II; and France was the last country to give up its rights, in 1946.

Siam signed a treaty granting extraterritorial rights to Britain in 1855 during the reign of King Rama IV
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthramaha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua , or Rama IV, known in foreign countries as King Mongkut , was the fourth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851-1868...

. Unequal treaties were later signed with 13 other European powers, as well as Japan. After the absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

 was overthrown in 1932
Siamese Revolution of 1932
The Siamese Revolution of 1932 or the Siamese Coup d'état of 1932 was a crucial turning point in Thai history in the 20th century...

, the constitutional government promulgated a set of legal codes, setting the stage for new treaties signed between 1937 and 1938 which canceled extraterritorial rights.

The Treaty Ports
Treaty Ports (Ireland)
Following the establishment of the Irish Free State, three deep water Treaty Ports at Berehaven, Queenstown and Lough Swilly were retained by the United Kingdom as sovereign bases in accordance with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921...

 in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, which were sovereign bases
Sovereign Base Areas
The Sovereign Base Areas are military bases located on territory in which the United Kingdom is sovereign, but which are separated from the ordinary British territory....

 created by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 in 1922, did not enjoy extraterritoriality from the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

. They were instead pieces of sovereign territory retained by the United Kingdom, until they were finally ceded to the Free State's successor, the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, in 1938.

A historic case of extraterritoriality was the seizure of the railways of Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 by Brown Brothers Harriman, a U.S. banking firm. Under the Knox-Castrillo Treaty of 1911 these railroads became legally part of the State of Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, according to former president of Guatemala, Juan José Arévalo
Juan José Arévalo
Juan José Arévalo Bermejo was the first of the reformist presidents of Guatemala. Preceded by military junta interregnum after a definitive pro-democracy revolt in 1944...

, in his book The Shark and the Sardines (Lyle Stuart, New York, 1961), pp. 210–220, though the Knox-Castrillo Treaty contains no mention of Maine or railroads.

In American Indian contact with EuroAmericans, extraterritoriality once denoted the same idea that beyond given points/lines—e. g., the Indian Southern Boundary in colonial times—Indian tribes were beyond white jurisdiction and non-Indians were not to trespass or occupy any lands. With the establishment of reservations, extraterritoriality soon lost this meaning or became a moot designation.

Current examples

  • Official visits of heads of state
    Head of State
    A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

  • Extraterritorial Properties of the Holy See
    Properties of the Holy See
    The properties of the Holy See are properties of the Holy See which are regulated by the 1929 Lateran Treaty signed with the Kingdom of Italy. Although being part of Italian territory, all of them have an extraterritorial status, similar to those of foreign embassies.- Outside Vatican City but...

     such as the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo
    Castel Gandolfo
    Castel Gandolfo is a small Italian town or comune in Lazio that occupies a height overlooking Lake Albano about 15 miles south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills. It is best known as the summer residence of the Pope. It is an Italian town with the population of 8834...

  • Headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome.
  • United Nations headquarters
    United Nations headquarters
    The headquarters of the United Nations is a complex in New York City. The complex has served as the official headquarters of the United Nations since its completion in 1952. It is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, on spacious grounds overlooking the East River...

     in New York, United Nations offices in Geneva
    Palais des Nations
    The Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, was built between 1929 and 1936 to serve as the headquarters of the League of Nations. It has served as the home of the United Nations Office at Geneva since 1946 when the Secretary General of the UN signed a Headquarters Agreement with the Swiss...

    , Vienna
    Vienna International Centre
    right|250px|thumb|Vienna International Centre . The [[UNO-City|Austria Center Vienna]] can be seen at the far left in the middle distance....

    , Nairobi
    Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

    , The Hague
    The Hague
    The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

     (International Court of Justice
    International Court of Justice
    The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

    ), Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

     (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
    International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
    The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. It was established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on December 10, 1982...

    ), Copenhagen
    Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

     and elsewhere.
  • The International Bureau of Weights and Measures
    International Bureau of Weights and Measures
    The International Bureau of Weights and Measures , is an international standards organisation, one of three such organisations established to maintain the International System of Units under the terms of the Metre Convention...

     at the Pavillon de Breteuil
    Pavillon de Breteuil
    Pavillon de Breteuil is a building located in Sèvres, France near Paris. It was inaugurated by Louis XIV in 1672. It is in the park of the former royal Château de Saint-Cloud, which was destroyed in 1870....

     in Sèvres
    Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

  • The NATO (political) headquarters in Brussels
    Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

     and the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, SHAPE
    Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
    Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the central command of NATO military forces. It is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons...

     near Mons
    Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour , Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles,...

    , Belgium.
  • CERN
    The European Organization for Nuclear Research , known as CERN , is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border...

     (European Organization for Nuclear Research)
  • Santa Maria di Galeria Vatican Radio transmitter
  • Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is located on of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba which the United States leased for use as a coaling station following the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903. The base is located on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas...

     (This example is disputed by the government of Cuba, which claims that the treaty establishing U.S. jurisdiction over the base is not valid.)
  • Port of Trieste
    Port of Trieste
    The Free Port of Trieste, is an Italian port on North Adriatic Sea in Trieste, Italy.It is subdivided into 5 different Free Areas, 3 of which have been allotted to commercial activities:*the Old Free Area...

  • European Central Bank
    European Central Bank
    The European Central Bank is the institution of the European Union that administers the monetary policy of the 17 EU Eurozone member states. It is thus one of the world's most important central banks. The bank was established by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1998, and is headquartered in Frankfurt,...

     in Frankfurt
  • European Patent Office
    European Patent Office
    The European Patent Office is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation , the other being the Administrative Council. The EPO acts as executive body for the Organisation while the Administrative Council acts as its supervisory body as well as, to a limited extent, its legislative...

     in Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

    , Berlin and The Hague
    The Hague
    The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

  • Moldauhafen
    Moldauhafen is a lot in the port of Hamburg, Germany, which has been leased since 1929 pursuant to the Treaty of Versailles to Czechoslovakia. In 1993, the Czech Republic succeeded to the rights of Czechoslovakia, and the lease is set to run until 2028.The lot of about is not an exclave, since it...

     (Vltava port), a lot in the port of Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

    , Germany, leased to the Czech Republic
    Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

     until 2028
  • International Maritime Organisation Headquarters in London

See also

  • Extraterritorial jurisdiction
    Extraterritorial jurisdiction
    Extraterritorial jurisdiction is the legal ability of a government to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries.Any authority can, of course, claim ETJ over any external territory they wish...

  • Enclave and exclave
    Enclave and exclave
    In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

  • Status of Forces Agreement
    Status of Forces Agreement
    A status of forces agreement is an agreement between a host country and a foreign nation stationing forces in that country. SOFAs are often included, along with other types of military agreements, as part of a comprehensive security arrangement...

  • Diplomatic Immunity
    Diplomatic immunity
    Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments that ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws...

  • Antarctic Treaty System
    Antarctic Treaty System
    The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land...

  • Demilitarized zone
    Demilitarized zone
    In military terms, a demilitarized zone is an area, usually the frontier or boundary between two or more military powers , where military activity is not permitted, usually by peace treaty, armistice, or other bilateral or multilateral agreement...

  • EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg
    EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg
    EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is an international airport northwest of Basel , southeast of Mulhouse , and south of Freiburg . It is located in France, on the administrative territory of the commune of Saint-Louis near the Swiss and German borders...

  • Harris Treaty
  • Imperialism in Asia
    Imperialism in Asia
    Imperialism in Asia traces its roots back to the late 15th century with a series of voyages that sought a sea passage to India in the hope of establishing direct trade between Europe and Asia in spices. Before 1500 European economies were largely self-sufficient, only supplemented by minor trade...

  • International waters
    International waters
    The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems , and wetlands.Oceans,...

  • International zone
    International zone
    An international zone is a type of extraterritoriality governed by international law, or similar treaty between two or more nations. They can be found within international airports and can contain duty free shopping. In areas of conflict there may be international zones called green zones that form...

  • Law of the Sea
    Law of the sea
    Law of the sea may refer to:* United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea* Admiralty law* The Custom of the Sea...

  • Moon Treaty
    Moon Treaty
    The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as the Moon Treaty or Moon Agreement, is an international treaty that turns jurisdiction of all celestial bodies over to the international community...

  • Neutral territory
    Neutral territory
    A neutral territory is a territory that is not an integral part of any state , and yet is not terra nullius, but is the object of an agreement under international law between at least two parties...

  • Outer Space Treaty
    Outer Space Treaty
    The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law...

  • Prerogative
    In law, a prerogative is an exclusive right given from a government or state and invested in an individual or group, the content of which is separate from the body of rights enjoyed under the general law of the normative state...

  • Rasul v. Bush
    Rasul v. Bush
    Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision establishing that the U.S. court system has the authority to decide whether foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay were wrongfully imprisoned...

  • Akmal Shaikh
    Akmal Shaikh
    Akmal Shaikh was a Pakistan-born British businessman who was convicted and executed in the People's Republic of China for drug trafficking. The trial and execution attracted media attention and strained diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and China. Shaikh was born in Pakistan and...

External links

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