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Reconceptualizing Recognition Uniformity

Foreign Court Judgments and the U.S. Legal System (2014)

14 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2014 Last revised: 10 May 2015

Kevin L. Cope

University of Virginia - School of Law

Date Written: March 15, 2014


An often-cited basis for implementing a federalized foreign judgments recognition-and-enforcement regime is to create predictability for litigants by achieving uniformity. But the debate over federalization has largely misconceptualized uniformity, focusing on the nonuniformity of state statutory regimes, rather than outcome uniformity, that is, past litigant and court behavior. And there is little evidence that the federalized alternative would produce significantly more outcome uniformity than the current state-by-state approach. Therefore, while federalization may have other advantages, the uniformity justification currently lacks adequate theoretical and empirical support. Accordingly, the practical consequences of choosing one approach over the other may be less significant than much of the current discourse suggests.

Keywords: foreign judgments, private international law

Suggested Citation

Cope, Kevin L., Reconceptualizing Recognition Uniformity (March 15, 2014). Foreign Court Judgments and the U.S. Legal System (2014). Available at SSRN:

Kevin Cope (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States


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