International Civil Litigation

International Law Section Policy

Below is a list of international policies adopted by the ABA House of Delegates. Please be advised that members must follow the policy procedure and usage guidelines outlined in the American Bar Association’s Constitution and Bylaws, Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates. The specific procedures are available on the policy homepage.

International Civil Litigation

U.S. Judicial Network. Encourages the establishment of a network of U.S. federal and state judges to facilitate education and permissible communication among judges regarding the interpretation and application of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Forum Non Conveniens. Affirms that the U.S. common law doctrine of forum non conveniens is not an appropriate basis for refusing to confirm or enforce arbitral awards that are subject to the provisions of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards or the Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration.

Data Protection and Privacy Laws for Foreign Sovereigns.  Urging federal, state, territorial, tribal and local courts to consider and respect as appropriate the data protection and privacy laws of any applicable foreign sovereign, and the interests of any person who is subject to or benefits from such laws, with regard to data sought in discovery in civil litigation. 2/12

Litigation in US-Canada Cross-Border Actions.  Adopting as best practices the Protocol on Court-to-Court Communications in Canada-U.S. Cross-Border Class Actions and Notice Protocol:  Coordinating Notice(s) to the Class(es) in Multijurisdictional Class Proceedings, and urging courts and counsel in cross-border class action cases involving the United States and Canada to adopt the Protocols.  08/11

Hague Convention on Child Support. Urges the Senate to give its advice and consent to the ratification of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (the “Child Support Convention”), and urging Congress to enact the necessary implementing legislation. 08/08

Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes. Adopts the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes – 2004 Revision. 2/04

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act . Urge the U.S. Congress and President to enact amendments to the Foreign Services Immunities Act (“FSIA” or “Act”) to clarify the applicability of the Act to specific entities; and in addition (1) recommend no change to the current structure of the FSIA combining issues of personal jurisdiction, federal court jurisdiction, and immunity from suit; (2) urge U.S. courts to determine whether an entity is separate from the foreign state itself by reviewing legal characteristics such as whether the entity maintains a distinct personality, was sufficiently capitalized, observes corporate formalities, contracts in its own name, and is able to sue and be sued; (3) urge U.S. courts to use traditional methods of contract interpretation in determining that a foreign state or instrumentality’s explicit waiver of immunity was a consent to be sued in the U.S.; and (4) urge U.S. courts to continue their incremental interpretation of the discretionary function provision in the tort exception to immunity. (02A119) 4/01 

Hague Conference on Private International Law. Encourage the U.S.’ initiative that the Hague Conference on Private International Law explore the feasibility of formulating a comprehensive multilateral convention on the international recognition and enforcement of judgments. 2/93

Inter-American Convention on Taking of Evidence Abroad. Recommend U.S. signature on and ratification of the Inter-American Convention on Taking of Evidence Abroad and the Additional Protocol, with certain reservations and declarations. 2/90

Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes. Support amending the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes to provide that party-appointed arbitrators in international situations, unless otherwise agreed, be neutral to the extent practicable under the circumstances. 2/90

International Commercial Arbitration. Favor recognition of freedom of parties to international commercial arbitration proceedings to use lawyers who need not be admitted to practice law in the jurisdiction where the proceeding takes place. 8/89

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Amendments. Urge approval by the Supreme Court and the United States for changes in Rules 4, 28 and 44 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to comply with the Hague Conventions on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-judicial Documents, the Taking of Evidence Abroad and the Abolishing of the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters. 8/83

Expropriation Provisions. Urge U.S. courts to give effect to any U.S. bilateral treaty which provides for just and equitable compensation for expropriation of property. 2/83

Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Laws. Recommend the implementation of a U.S. government policy requiring, among other things, notification of the State Department before federal departments or agencies are allowed to take enforcement actions directed beyond the territory of the U.S.; recommend establishment of a national bipartisan commission to study the international aspects of the antitrust laws. 8/81

Letters Rogatory Convention. Support U.S. ratification of the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and the Additional Protocol to the Convention subject to two reservations. 8/81

Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration. Support ratification by the U .S. provided conflict is avoided with the Convention on Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958), and appropriate safeguards are provided with respect to future amendments in the IACAC Arbitration Rules. 2/78

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Support the prompt Congressional hearings on and enactment into law of legislation that would define the jurisdiction of courts of the U.S. in suits against foreign states and the circumstances in which foreign states are not immune from suit or execution upon their property. 8/76

Arbitration Rules. Recognize the need for prompt development of a uniform set of international rules of procedure to supplement the Arbitration Rules of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe. Encourage the efforts of the American Arbitration Association to develop these rules to be compatible with standards of arbitral due process in this country. 2/74

Foreign Arbitral Awards. Urge organizations of lawyers to encourage their respective governments to ratify the 1958 U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. 2/74

Extraterritorial Procedures for Administrative Agencies. Recommend amendment of the Federal Judicial Code (28 U.S.C. Sections 1697 and 1785) to authorize district court orders for service of process and taking of depositions in a foreign country in connection with proceedings before federal administrative tribunals. 7/71

Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters. Urge the U.S. government to sign and ratify the Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters, adopted in 1968 as part of the Final Act of the Eleventh Session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. 8/69