1-Hour Program

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Globalization has enabled national governments to expand the scope of their traditionally political and diplomatic activities into the commercial sphere.  As a result of such phenomena as state-controlled enterprises playing major roles in the international energy or financial sectors, legal systems across the globe have increasingly recognized that where foreign governments act as private entities, they should be treated as such to at least some extent in the event of subsequent litigation.  In the United States, litigation against foreign governments and government-controlled entities is governed by the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which presumptively immunizes foreign governments from claims in U.S. courts absent specified exceptions to this immunity (which will allow such claims to proceed). 

Very significantly, the FSIA does not just focus on problems arising from commercial activities.  It has consequently formed the basis for a fluid jurisprudence with which even transactional attorneys should be familiar so as to know what to expect should a transaction with a foreign government enterprise result in litigation.  These disputes have implicated the reclamation of property lost during the Holocaust, litigation against the Holy See arising from clerical abuse allegations, foreign government expropriations of property, and litigation against U.S. government-designated state sponsors of terrorism (e.g., Iran).  The statute thus touches upon other areas of law ranging from torts and maritime issues to national security matters.

In this second part of a two-part webcast, Ernesto J. Sanchez, author of  The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Deskbook, will discuss:

  • Proper courts in which to sue a foreign sovereign
  • Service of process and the establishment of personal jurisdiction
  • Liability, damages, and enforcing judgments under the FSIA

Note: Listeners that are completely unfamiliar with the FSIA are advised to listen to Part 1 of the webcast where Mr. Sanchez described the jurisdictional aspects of FSIA litigation before listening to Part 2 (which builds upon the knowledge gained in Part 1).


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