How Well Do U.S. Judgments Fare in Europe?
61 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2007 Last revised: 27 Aug 2012
Transnational cases have become a prominent part of the litigation landscape in the United States. Class actions against foreign defendants are widespread, the Alien Tort Claims Act has emerged as a mainstay of proceedings to enforce international human rights law in U.S. courts, and the globalization of the economy has led to an increase in transnational regulatory litigation. In all these cases, however, the parties need to ask themselves whether an ensuing judgment or settlement can be recognized or enforced abroad. For quite some time, the perception in the United States has been that U.S. judgments do not fare very well when the time comes to recognize or enforce them abroad. If so, the resolution of a considerable number of transnational cases in this country would have no effect abroad, not exactly the result that lofty talk about "transnational adjudication" would seem to entail.
In this paper, I intend to provide some answers to the question how well U.S. judgments really fare in Europe, where many of the important trading partners of the United States are located. I conclude that, on average, the recognition and enforcement of U.S. judgments does indeed face more obstacles in Europe than do European judgments in the United States. However, much depends on the country, the subject matter involved, the person of the defendant, and the connection of the dispute to the recognition state, among other things. Thus, a multilateral judgments convention, such as the one initiated by the United States in 1992, could indeed bring similar improvements as have resulted from various conventions and EC regulations adopted by the Europeans regarding their own judgments. The same goes for the federal recognition statute recently proposed by the American Law Institute.
Keywords: civil procedure, conflict of laws, transnational litigation, comparative civil procedure, European law
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