Foreign Sovereign Immunity

Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2023

The thirty-seventh annual survey on choice of law in the American courts is now available on SSRN. The survey covers significant cases decided in 2023 on choice of law, party autonomy, extraterritoriality, international human rights, foreign sovereign immunity, adjudicative jurisdiction, and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. So, on this leap day, we thought…

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What Does Customary International Law Say About Halkbank’s Immunity?

Tomorrow, the Second Circuit will hear argument in United States v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. to consider whether Halkbank, a Turkish state-owned bank (but not its central bank), is immune from criminal prosecution for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Halkbank claimed immunity under both the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and federal common law. The U.S….

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Ninth Circuit Gets Tangled Up in Minimum Contacts and Due Process

Do the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections require minimum contacts? And do those protections apply to foreign states sued under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)? Those are the fundamental questions on which Ninth Circuit judges offered differing approaches as they resolved a recent petition for rehearing en banc. Regular TLB readers may recall that…

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Further Thoughts About Missouri’s COVID Suit Against China

As previously discussed at TLB, the Eighth Circuit recently held that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not shield the People’s Republic of China from suit on one of the claims that Missouri has brought against it arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the court of appeals held that Missouri could move forward with…

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Russia Continues Pressing Sovereignty Claims in the Yukos Award Saga

Russian 200 ruble note

Yukos Oil Company (“Yukos”) shareholders’ attempts to enforce their $50 billion arbitral award against the Russian Federation are moving forward in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. On November 17, 2023, Judge Beryl Howell denied Russia’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities…

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Missouri’s COVID Suit Against China Revived

The Eighth Circuit has breathed life back into Missouri’s attempts to hold the People’s Republic of China (PRC) responsible in U.S. court for the COVID-19 pandemic. Missouri filed this claim in April 2020 and, as Chimène Keitner outlined at the time, the case is rife with Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) issues. This latest decision…

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Ninth Circuit Decides Cassirer in Favor of Spain

In 2005, Claude Cassirer sued a state-owned museum in Spain to recover a painting by Camille Pissarro that the Nazis stole from his grandmother. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court on a choice-of-law question, and the Court held that state, rather than federal, choice-of-law rules should determine the applicable law in cases under…

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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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China’s New Foreign State Immunity Law: Some Foreign Relations Aspects

On September 1, 2023, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC Standing Committee) passed the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Foreign State Immunity (FSIL) (English translation here). The FSIL will enter into force on January 1, 2024. This law heralds a fundamental shift of China’s attitude towards foreign state immunity,…

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Domestic Litigation and Compensation to Ukrainian Victims of Russian Aggression

Many proposals to compensate Ukrainian victims of Russian aggression do not directly involve domestic courts, in part because foreign sovereign immunity poses significant obstacles to such litigation. There are, however, important cases against Russia currently pending in Ukrainian courts. These cases were the subject of a recent session held in Lviv, Ukraine, as part of…

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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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