As indicated above the State Immunity Act 1978 was enacted to provide a code as to the circumstances in which immunity might be granted. It came into effect on 22 November 1978 and is not retrospective; it therefore follows that cases will come before the courts where the legislation does not pertain either because the events took place before the operative date72 or because the facts come within one of the exceptional situations where the legislation does not apply.73 The express purpose of the legislation was to enable the United Kingdom to ratify both the 1926 Brussels Convention on the Unification of Certain Rules relating State Owned Vessels and the 1972 European Convention on State Immunity.74 It is arguable that the legislation would be sufficient to meet the United Kingdom’s obligations under the draft of the International Law Commission should that document one day enter into force. Another important objective was to ensure that the United Kingdom as a centre of trade was not damaged by rules that were thought to be unfavourable to trading interests.75