Im­mu­nity

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -

An ex­emp­tion granted by statute or gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties from a le­gal duty, penalty or pros­e­cu­tion.

■ Sov­er­eign im­mu­nity is a ju­di­cial doc­trine that pre­vents the gov­ern­ment or its po­lit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sions, de­part­ments and agen­cies from be­ing sued without its con­sent. The doc­trine stems from the an­cient English prin­ci­ple that the monarch can do no wrong. For a per­son in­di­vid­u­ally to be im­mune to suit, they must be act­ing as an arm of the gov­ern­ment.

■ Qual­i­fied im­mu­nity pro­tects pub­lic of­fi­cials from be­ing sued for dam­ages un­less they vi­o­lated “clearly es­tab­lished” law of which a rea­son­able of­fi­cial in his po­si­tion would have known. It aims to pro­tect civil ser­vants from the fear of lit­i­ga­tion in per­form­ing dis­cre­tionary func­tions en­trusted to them by law. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials per­form­ing dis­cre­tionary func­tions gen­er­ally are shielded from li­a­bil­ity for civil dam­ages as long as as their con­duct doesn’t vi­o­late clearly es­tab­lished statu­tory or con­sti­tu­tional rights of which a rea­son­able per­son would have known.

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