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International Litigation Guides

The Center's International Litigation Guides provide an overview of different topics in transnational litigation and international law.

International Human Rights Litigation: A Guide for Judges (2016)
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.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: A Guide for Judges, Second Edition (2015)
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.

Discovery in International Civil Litigation: A Guide for Judges (2015)
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.

International Environmental Law: A Guide for Judges (2015)
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.

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties and Letters Rogatory: A Guide for Judges (2014)
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.

International Extradition: A Guide for Judges (2014)
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.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: A Guide for Judges (2013)
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. The Addendum in Part VII discusses the terrorism exception, which was recently revised by Congress.

International Commercial Arbitration: A Guide for U.S. Judges (2012)
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.

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (2012)
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.