Rethinking Legal Globalization: The Case of Transnational Personal Jurisdiction

Donald Earl Childress III

Pepperdine University School of Law

May 10, 2012

William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 54, 2013
Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012/26

Under what circumstances may a U.S. court exercise personal jurisdiction over foreign, non-U.S. parties? Courts and commentators have yet to offer a coherent response to this question. This is surprising given that scholars, such as Harold Hongju Koh, former dean of the Yale Law School and current legal advisor to the United States Department of State, have been calling for the globalization of U.S. law since the late 1980s as part of a transnational litigation narrative.

The Article shows through doctrinal and empirical analysis that globalization’s academic clarion call has largely been ignored in modern judicial decision making. The Article also shows how that call can be reinvigorated by focusing on choice of law questions at the heart of transnational cases. The Article proposes that a U.S. court may exercise personal jurisdiction over an alien defendant not served with process within a state’s borders where (1) the defendant has received constitutionally adequate notice and (2) the state has a constitutionally sufficient interest in applying its law or adjudicating a controversy involving its domiciliaries. Personal jurisdiction in transnational cases is, therefore, about choice of law. This Article revises the transnational personal jurisdiction doctrine through a concrete set of rules for courts to apply given the parties and law at issue before the court.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 72

Keywords: jurisdiction, private international law, civil procedure, federalism, choice of law, conflict of laws

JEL Classification: K10, K33, K41

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Date posted: May 11, 2012 ; Last revised: May 29, 2013

Suggested Citation

Childress III, Donald Earl, Rethinking Legal Globalization: The Case of Transnational Personal Jurisdiction (May 10, 2012). William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 54, 2013; Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012/26. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2055881

Contact Information

Donald Earl Childress III (Contact Author)
Pepperdine University School of Law ( email )
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States
310-506-4807 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.pepperdine.edu/academics/faculty/childress.html
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