The immunity of a sovereign and its agents from liability for tortious conduct has long been a part of our common law. Its origin seems to be based on "the theory, allied with the divine right of kings, that 'the King can do no wrong', together with the feeling that it was necessarily a contradiction of his sovereignty to allow him to be sued as of right in his own courts." More modern justifications include the desire to limit judicial interference with the workings of government. Naturally this desire has left may wrongs unredressed. Thus, the law has been forced to accommodate two competing interests: (1) functional government unencumbered by the courts; and (2) the need of injured parties for judicial relief.
James A. Willett,
Virginia's Law of Sovereign Immunity: An Overview,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol12/iss2/8