N. (in international law)
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the 1990s it became imperative for states of the European Union to adopt a common policy with regard to recognition of the newly emerging sovereign states of E and SE Europe. In December 1991 the EC published its Declaration on Yugoslavia and on the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States. This made it a precondition of recognition that the new state should respect human rights and oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In August 2008, following the Russian intervention in Georgia, Russians recognized the breakaway states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Only Venezuela and Belarus followed suit.
For purposes of English municipal law, the question of whether or not a state is recognized is sometimes relevant. Thus: (1) only a recognized state is entitled to sovereign immunity from jurisdiction; (2) an unrecognized state cannot sue in English courts; and (3) when a foreign law is to be applied under the principles of private international law, this can only be the law of a recognized state or subsidiary body set up by it. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office certificate stating that an entity is or is not recognized by the British government is usually taken as conclusive evidence in the courts. Since 1980 Britain has abandoned the practice of recognizing governments – only states are now the subject of express recognition (Sierra Leone Telecommunications Co Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc  2 All ER 821 (HL).