Customary International Law

U.S. Brief in Halkbank Abandons Customary International Law in Immunity Cases

In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States (Halkbank), the Supreme Court held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not apply to criminal proceedings. The Court remanded Halkbank’s separate claim of common law immunity to the Second Circuit for reconsideration. On November 20, 2023, after two extensions, the United States filed its brief on remand. The U.S….

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Further Thoughts About Terrorism Exceptions and State Immunity

As regular readers know, Iran has sued Canada at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), arguing that the terrorism exceptions in Canada’s State Immunities Act (SIA) violate customary international law. The United States also has terrorism exceptions in its Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) for actions against state sponsors of terrorism and for actions based on international terrorism in the…

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Governmental and Non-Governmental Acts in Terrorism Exceptions to Sovereign Immunity

The Islamic Republic of Iran (“Iran”) brought proceedings in the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) against Canada on June 27, 2023, alleging that Section 6.1(1) of Canada’s State Immunity Act (SIA), its “terrorism exception,” violates Iran’s sovereign immunities from jurisdiction and enforcement under customary international law. Section 6.1(1) creates an exception to the jurisdictional immunity…

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Why Terrorism Exceptions to State Immunity Do Not Violate International Law

[Editor’s Note: This post also appears at Just Security.] On June 27, 2023, Iran sued Canada at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), arguing that the terrorism exceptions in Canada’s State Immunities Act (SIA) violate customary international law. As Professor Maryam Jamshidi noted at Just Security, it seems that the main target of Iran’s action…

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A Primer on Foreign Sovereign Immunity

The immunity of states from the jurisdiction of foreign domestic courts is a long-standing and mostly uncontroversial principle of customary international law. The International Court of Justice has described foreign sovereign immunity as a procedural doctrine of international law, one that “derives from the principle of sovereign equality of the States.” As a practical matter,…

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Central Bank Immunity, Afghanistan, and Judgments Against the Taliban

International law and U.S. foreign policy provide powerful reasons to require clearer direction from the political branches before ordering the turnover of Afghan central bank assets to U.S. judgment creditors. [This post also appears on Lawfare]. Afghan central bank assets in the United States were frozen by President Biden following the Taliban’s takeover of the…

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A Century of Changes in Extraterritoriality

This post is a lightly edited version of a talk given virtually on November 26, 2022, at the “International Symposium on Accelerating Changes Unseen in a Century and the Development of International Law” organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of International Law. I am pleased to be with you today to discuss…

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The Supreme Court Takes Up Sovereign Immunity from Criminal Prosecutions

On the first day of the October 2022 Term, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Türkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. United States. The case, put simply, asks whether the U.S. government can bring criminal prosecutions against foreign companies owned by foreign sovereigns. The United States has charged Halkbank, in which Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund has…

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Comparing Extraterritoriality in the EU

How a court decides whether a statute applies extraterritorially is a fundamental question in transnational litigation. TLB has lots of information about the U.S. approach. Our Primer on Extraterritoriality describes the federal and state approaches, as well as the customary international law rules on jurisdiction to prescribe. Recent posts have discussed the extraterritorial application of…

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When Should Federal Common Law Govern Transnational Litigation?

The conventional wisdom is that transnational litigation “can trigger foreign relations concerns.” Because the federal government has primary responsibility for the United States’ relations with other nations, the question naturally arises whether federal law should govern such litigation even when neither a federal statute, nor the U.S. Constitution, nor a treaty is applicable. Currently, as…

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Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk

Vanderbilt Law School
ingrid.wuerth@vanderbilt.eduEmail

William Dodge

UC Davis School of Law
wsdodge@ucdavis.eduEmail

Maggie Gardner

Cornell Law School
mgardner@cornell.eduEmail

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law
jfcoyle@email.unc.eduEmail

Zachary D. Clopton

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
zclopton@law.northwestern.eduEmail

Aaron D. Simowitz

Willamette University College of Law
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Timothy D. Lytton

Georgia State University College of Law
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Chukwuma Okoli

University of Birmingham
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Abubakri Yekini

University of Manchester
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Haley Anderson

University of California Berkeley
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Brian D. Hulse

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
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Wenliang Zhang

Renmin University of China Law School
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Haoxiang Ruan

Renmin University of China Law School
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Melissa Kucinski

MKFL
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