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International Litigation Guides

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December 31, 2018
David P. Stewart

This guide provides an overview of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976. It is intended as a practical introduction for those who have little knowledge of or experience with the statute. The guide focuses on the basic legal issues U.S. courts face when handling cases that arise under the statute.

December 30, 2016
David Nersessian

The purpose of this guide is to help federal judges adjudicate civil cases alleging human rights violations under domestic and international law. This guide addresses cases with an international dimension brought in federal court pursuant to specific U.S. statutes that provide jurisdiction over such claims. These cases include rights-based legal disputes involving foreign plaintiffs or defendants, cases involving violations occurring abroad, and cases relying on international human rights law.

December 15, 2015
James D. Garbolino

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty that governs judicial proceedings that are brought seeking orders for the prompt physical return of children who have been wrongfully taken or kept away from their "habitual residence." The treaty is in force between the United States and seventy-three other countries. State and federal courts have original concurrent jurisdiction to hear cases under the 1980 Convention.

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December 9, 2015
Roger R. Martella Jr., James W. Coleman

This guide provides judges with an introduction to some of the major areas of international environmental law and examines how the law might arise in federal litigation involving climate change, hazardous chemicals and materials, protected species, water pollution, air pollution, environmental disaster response, and transborder enforcement of environmental regulations. It discusses the various sources of international environmental laws, such as multilateral trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties, and international standards and standard-setting organizations.

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December 2, 2015
Timothy P. Harkness, Rahim Moloo, Patrick Oh, Charline Yim

At an increasing rate, U.S. courts are hearing cases in which parties seek evidence located abroad or parties to a foreign or international proceeding seek evidence located in the United States. International discovery issues pose difficult and complex challenges, at both the procedural and substantive levels. This guide seeks to address these issues by providing a practical overview of cross-border discovery questions that commonly arise in civil cases before federal courts.

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May 1, 2014
T. Markus Funk

The investigation of transnational conduct often involves gathering evidence located in foreign countries. There are two primary means of obtaining evidence for use in a transnational proceeding: a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and a letter rogatory. This guide provides an overview of the statutory schemes and procedural matters that distinguish MLATs and letters rogatory, and it discusses legal issues that arise when the prosecution, the defense, or a civil litigant seeks to obtain evidence from abroad as part of a criminal or civil proceeding.

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March 31, 2014
Ronald J. Hedges

This guide provides a brief overview of extradition law, focusing primarily on the extradition of fugitives from the United States. It describes the grounds for extradition, extradition proceedings, legal issues that may emerge, and related case management considerations.

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January 1, 2013
David P. Stewart

This guide provides an overview of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA). It discusses the FSIA’s purpose and scope of application, and it reviews the jurisdictional, procedural, and evidentiary questions most likely to arise at the outset of litigation. It discusses the entities entitled to immunity (in particular the distinctions between a "foreign state," its "political subdivisions," and its "agencies and instrumentalities"), exceptions to immunity, and issues relating to execution of judgments.

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January 1, 2012
Ronald A. Brand

This guide addresses the questions that may arise when a party to litigation in a U.S. court seeks to enforce a foreign judgment or to use a foreign judgment for preclusive effect in local litigation. Part II details the historical background of the applicable state law in recognition cases, and discusses the relationship between recognition and enforcement.

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January 1, 2012
S. I. Strong

Although U.S. federal courts across the country are seeing an ever-increasing number of cases associated with international commercial arbitration, few judges are familiar with this unique and complicated area of law. This guide offers judges a useful framework for analysis of matters relating to international commercial arbitration by providing a succinct and practical overview of the field as well as a specific, motion-by-motion discussion of the kinds of issues that commonly arise in U.S. courts.

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