Foreign Official Immunity

Supreme Court Denies Cert in NSO v. WhatsApp

Today, the Supreme Court denied cert in NSO Group Technologies Ltd. v. WhatsApp Inc. The order lets stand a Ninth Circuit decision holding that entities that do not meet the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s (FSIA) definition of an “agency or instrumentality” of a foreign state cannot claim immunity under federal common law. (Disclosure: I joined an amicus brief…

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MBS’s Immunity and the Subject Matter Jurisdiction Problem

As previously discussed at TLB, a federal district court recently dismissed claims against Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) arising from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. When the claims were filed, MBS was merely Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and not entitled to head-of-state immunity. MBS was subsequently appointed Prime Minister, however, a position that does…

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District Court Dismisses Killing Claims Against MBS

Yesterday, the District Court for the District of Columbia (Judge John Bates) dismissed a lawsuit brought by Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) and the widow of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered by security agents at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The plaintiffs sued Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and…

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Solicitor General Recommends Denial of Cert in NSO v. WhatsApp

On November 21, the Solicitor General (SG) filed a brief recommending that the Supreme Court deny cert in NSO Group Technologies Ltd. v. WhatsApp Inc. NSO, an Israeli company that makes surveillance technology, claims that it is entitled to immunity from suit under federal common law because it acted as the agent of foreign states….

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State Department Recognizes Head-of-State Immunity for MBS

Earlier today, the U.S. State Department recognized that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) is entitled to head-of-state immunity as Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia in a case brought by Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) and the widow of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered by Saudi security agents at the Saudi…

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SDNY Rejects Immunity for Former Diplomat in Trafficking Case

To ensure that diplomats can perform their functions without harassment, international law grants them broad immunity from the criminal and civil jurisdiction of the state to which they are accredited. Unfortunately, some diplomats seem to treat such immunity as a license to abuse their domestic servants. Earlier this year, Ingrid (Wuerth) Brunk reported on a…

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District Court Dismisses Another Case Against MBS for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

Two weeks ago, while King Salman was appointing Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) as Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia in an apparent bid to secure him head-of-state immunity in a suit brought by Jamal Khashoggi’s widow, the judge in a different case quietly dismissed another plaintiff’s claims against MBS for lack of personal jurisdiction….

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MBS’s Appointment as Saudi Prime Minister Gives Him Head-of-State Immunity

On Tuesday, King Salman appointed Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) as Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. The appointment makes MBS Saudi Arabia’s head of government, thereby entitling him to “head of state” immunity under U.S. law and customary international law. The appointment comes just days before an October 3 court deadline for the U.S….

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Using TLB to Teach Foreign Relations Law

This post discusses Foreign Relations Law as part of our series explaining how professors can use resources on TLB to teach various classes. Previous posts have discussed Transnational Litigation, Civil Procedure, International Business Transactions, and Conflict of Laws. Although TLB focuses on litigation, and although Foreign Relations Law classes cover many topics that are rarely litigated, there is…

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Is MBS Entitled to Head of State Immunity?

Editor’s Note: This article also appears in Just Security. In 2018, Saudi security agents brutally murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) approved the operation. In 2020, Khashoggi’s widow and a non-profit organization that he helped found sued MBS and…

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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

Matt Hornung

Cornell Law School
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Jonathan Schaffer-Goddard

Holwell Shuster & Goldberg; 4 Pump Court, London
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Chimène Keitner

UC Hastings Law
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David P. Stewart

Georgetown University Law Center
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Curtis A. Bradley

University of Chicago Law School
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Benjamin Hayward

Department of Business Law and Taxation, Monash Business School
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Rajat Lal

Faculty of Law, Monash University
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David Landau

Florida State University College of Law
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Katie Burghardt Kramer

DGW Kramer LLP
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Tanya Monestier

University at Buffalo School of Law
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