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Jurisdictional Discovery Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

47 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2011  

Steven R. Swanson

Hamline University - School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 1986

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Jurisdictional discovery, foreign sovereign immunities act, FSIA, foreign sovereign

Suggested Citation

Swanson, Steven R., Jurisdictional Discovery Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (January 1, 1986). Emory International Law Review, Vol. 13, p. 445, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1955632

Steven R. Swanson (Contact Author)

Hamline University - School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States

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