Immunity Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Immunity, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Immunity?

It refers to act of exemption from performing normal duties or attending office. It also refers to the exemption from attending the legal hearings, be involved in Legal prosecution, penality or liability. It is granted mainly to witness in exchage of testimony, diplomats who are on missions, Government officials who have have made certain decisons amounting to the liability while on duty and government organisations

History and Meaning of Immunity

The term immunity has its root in the Latin word "immunitas," which referred to a person's exemption from public service. The term later came to be used in the legal context to refer to protection from legal liability or being punished for an offense. This means that a person who has immunity is exempt from prosecution, penalties, liability, or duty from which others are not exempt.

Examples of Immunity

  1. Diplomatic Immunity: This is a form of legal immunity granted to diplomats who are on a foreign mission in a particular country. Diplomatic immunity means that the diplomat or members of their family cannot be prosecuted, sued, or arrested by the host country unless the diplomat's home country waives their diplomatic immunity.

  2. Witness Immunity: This is immunity granted to a witness who provides testimony or evidence in a legal case. The witness is granted immunity from prosecution or liability for any wrongdoing they may have committed in connection with the case. This is usually done to encourage witnesses to come forward and provide information in a case.

  3. Sovereign Immunity: This refers to the immunity of a government or government agency from being sued, prosecuted or penalized. This means that the government, its officials, or agencies cannot be sued or held liable for actions taken in the course of their official duties.

  4. Qualified Immunity: This is a concept in US law that grants government officials immunity from being sued for actions taken within the scope of their official duties, as long as those actions were not in violation of a person's constitutional rights.

Legal Terms Similar to Immunity

  1. Statute of Limitations: This refers to the period within which a lawsuit or legal action must be filed. After the period has elapsed, the plaintiff loses their right to sue or take legal action.

  2. Double Jeopardy: This is a concept in law that prohibits a person from being prosecuted twice for the same offense or crime.

  3. Absolute Immunity: This is an immunity that completely protects a person from being sued or prosecuted for actions taken within the scope of their official duties. It is usually granted to high-ranking government officials like the president or judges.