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Foreword: After Kiobel: International Human Rights Litigation in State Courts and Under State Law


Christopher A. Whytock


University of California, Irvine, School of Law

Donald Earl Childress III


Pepperdine University School of Law

Michael D. Ramsey


University of San Diego School of Law

February 23, 2013

UC Irvine Law Review, Vol.3, No.1, 2013
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-95
Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013/10

Abstract:     
Litigation in domestic courts is only one of many ways to promote and protect international human rights, but it has received much attention from lawyers and scholars. Attention has focused above all on litigation in the U.S. federal courts under the Alien Tort Statute (the “ATS”). However, plaintiffs are facing growing barriers to ATS human rights litigation in the U.S. federal courts, and it is likely that the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. will further restrict this type of litigation — perhaps substantially.

This Essay provides an overview of the legal issues surrounding one possible alternative human rights litigation strategy: human rights litigation in U.S. state courts or under U.S. state law. It highlights both the attractions and the limits of this strategy, and it identifies the challenging legal issues that this strategy will raise for judges, lawyers and scholars, ranging from choice of law and extraterritoriality, to jurisdiction and federal preemption. This Essay also serves as the foreword to a symposium issue of the UC Irvine Law Review that contains articles by leading practitioners and scholars of human rights, international law, and conflict of laws providing in-depth analysis of these and other aspects of human rights litigation in state courts and under state law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 10

Keywords: Human Rights, International Law, Federal Courts, Alien Tort Statute, Alien Tort Claims Act, Civil Procedure, Transnational Litigation, International Litigation, Foreign Relations Law, Conflict of Laws

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Date posted: February 28, 2013 ; Last revised: May 10, 2014

Suggested Citation

Whytock, Christopher A. and Childress III, Donald Earl and Ramsey, Michael D., Foreword: After Kiobel: International Human Rights Litigation in State Courts and Under State Law (February 23, 2013). UC Irvine Law Review, Vol.3, No.1, 2013; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-95; Pepperdine University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013/10. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2225392

Contact Information

Christopher A. Whytock (Contact Author)
University of California, Irvine, School of Law ( email )
401 East Peltason Drive, Suite 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-8000
United States
(949) 824-0496 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uci.edu
Donald Earl Childress III
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
Michael D. Ramsey
University of San Diego School of Law ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
619-260-4145 (Phone)
619-260-2218 (Fax)
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