The Legal Position of Intergovernmental Organizations: A Functional Necessity Analysis of Their Legal Status and Immunities

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book is the first treatise in English to present an overall functional necessity approach to the study of the legal position of intergovernmental organizations. According to this approach, an international organization is entitled to (no more than) what is strictly necessary for the exercise of its functions in the fulfilment of its purpose. The book provides a three-step analysis that relates an organization's legal status, privileges and immunities to the functions and purposes of the organization.
After a review of the work of the International Law Commission on Relations between States and International Organizations, between 1962 and 1992, the author first introduces an identification process of the study's subject matter and scope ratione personae, i.e. the legal status of intergovernmental organizations. The legal personality, legal capacities, and competence (powers) of international organizations are analyzed from the perspective of their functions and purposes. Step Two presents a review of the basic considerations in granting organizational immunities, and their legal sources. Step Three focuses on the `official activities' of international organizations, which is the core of the application of functional necessity in determining the extent of organizational immunities. The book also reviews existing methods of counterbalancing organizational immunities, and applies the three-step functional necessity analysis to a case study of the International Tin Council. Finally, a general conclusion underlines the character of organizational immunity law as a balanced and self-contained régime.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMartinus Nijhoff
Number of pages267
ISBN (Print)978-07-92-32904-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1994

Publication series

NameLegal Aspects of International Organizations


  • Institutions
  • immunity


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