The immunities of States and international organisations

This database contains the original national contributions bringing together information on The immunities of States and international organisations

Information on the contribution

Member State
Type of document
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Database of the CAHDI "The immunities of States and international organisations" - contribution of Austria - Jurisprudence of 10/02/1961

X. Y. (individual) v. Embassy of X (State)


Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof)

Date of the decision, of the judgment


Points of law

The Court establishes that driving a government owned vehicle for official purposes is not an act of ius imperii character.

Summary of the case

The plaintiff’s car was damaged in a car accident with a vehicle owned by the Government of the United States (defendant). The defendant contended that since at the time of the accident the car was carrying diplomatic mail, the act was of ius imperii character and the case was therefore not subject to Austrian jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court reiterated its view previously expressed in Dralle v. Republic of Czechoslovakia that a distinction must be drawn between acta iure imperii and acta iure gestionis and that in respect of the latter a foreign State is subject to Austrian jurisdiction. In determining whether an act was iure imperii or iure gestionis the Court stated that the act itself and not the purpose for which it was performed had to be considered. In the present case the US Government had operated a vehicle on a public road, an act which could be performed as well by an individual. Therefore the case was subject to Austrian jurisdiction.


No. 2Ob243/60, Austrian legal information system (see:; see as well: Grotius International Law Reports Volume 40 p. 73.

Additional information (explanations, notes, etc.)

See also judgement of the Supreme Court No. 1Ob167/49 and 1Ob171/1950.