Jurisdictional Discovery Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
Steven R. Swanson
Hamline University - School of Law
January 1, 1986
Emory International Law Review, Vol. 13, p. 445, 1999
Congress passed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA or “Act”) to clarify when U.S. courts may compel a foreign state to appear in a civil action. The Act provides for both personal and subject matter jurisdiction over certain suits against foreign governmental entities and is the only way a U.S. court can obtain subject matter jurisdiction over a claim against a foreign sovereign. This article begins with a review of foreign sovereign immunity law in the United States to clarify the policies that should underlie a court’s analysis of the discovery issue. It then examines how U.S. courts have approached jurisdictional discovery in cases involving foreign sovereigns. Finally, this article suggests a meaningful synthesis of the current judicial approaches, urging a move away from fact-specific adjudication towards a more comprehensive, uniform, and predictable approach to the issue.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: Jurisdictional discovery, foreign sovereign immunities act, FSIA, foreign sovereign
Date posted: November 17, 2011
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