Why is the U.S. Abdicating the Policing of Multinational Corporations to Europe?: Extraterritorialism, Sovereignty, and the Alien Tort Statute

70 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2011 Last revised: 26 Jun 2012

Jodie A. Kirshner

University of Cambridge

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

The United States has policed the multinational effects of multinational corporations more aggressively than any other coun-try, but recent decisions under the Alien Tort Statute indicate that it is now backtracking. Europe, paradoxically, is moving in the other direction. Why do some countries retract extraterritorial jurisdiction while others step forward? The article traces the opposing trends through corporate human rights cases and suggests that the answer may lie in attitudes towards national sovereignty. The developments raise important questions regarding the position of the United States in a globalizing world and its role in upholding international norms.

Keywords: Extraterritorial jurisdiction, Alien Tort Statute, Corporate groups, Multinational firms, Corporate veil, European Union, Corporate crime, National sovereignty, Human rights

JEL Classification: F23, F40, H73, K2, L22, O19, P50

Suggested Citation

Kirshner, Jodie A., Why is the U.S. Abdicating the Policing of Multinational Corporations to Europe?: Extraterritorialism, Sovereignty, and the Alien Tort Statute (August 1, 2011). Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Vol. 29, No. 2, 2012; University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 16/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1956520

Jodie A. Kirshner (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

Cambridge, CB3 0DS
United Kingdom

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