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United States: Appeals Court Rules Property Claims out of Early 20th Century Acts of Genocide Do Not Satisfy Jurisdictional Requirements in Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

(Feb. 5, 2021) On September 24, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision dismissing a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq. (Rukoru v. Federal Republic of Germany, No. 19-609 (2d Cir. Sept. 24, […]

Germany: New English-Speaking Commercial Court Opened in the State of Baden-Württemberg

(Jan. 15, 2021) At the beginning of November 2020, the first English-speaking commercial court began operating in Germany, with locations in Stuttgart (Stuttgart Commercial Court) and Mannheim (Mannheim Commercial Court). The commercial court decides disputes in international commercial law. According to a press release issued by the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg, the purpose of the […]

Russian Federation: Newly Adopted Amendments to Insolvency Law Allow Some Citizens to Go Through Bankruptcy but Avoid Court Proceedings

(Nov. 25, 2020) On September 1, 2020, Federal Law No. 289-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Bankruptcy entered into force. This law, which was signed by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on July 31, 2020, allows some categories of Russian citizens to declare bankruptcy while avoiding court proceedings and without paying […]

Norway: Supreme Court Rules It Has Universal Jurisdiction over Foreigners’ Prior Terrorist Acts Abroad

(July 16, 2020) On June 26, 2020, the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that Norwegian courts may exercise universal jurisdiction over crimes of terrorism and that foreigners may thus be sentenced in Norway for terrorism crimes they committed before arriving in the country. (Supreme Court Decision Case No. HR-2020-1340-A.) Facts of the Case The defendant, a […]

United States: Welsh Government Not Immune from Copyright Lawsuit for Using Dylan Thomas Photos in Tourism Ads

(June 23, 2020) On June 8, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that the Welsh government is not immune under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) from a private lawsuit alleging claims of copyright infringement because of the commercial-activity exception to the FSIA. (Pablo Star Ltd. […]

United States: Supreme Court Rules Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism May Recover Punitive Damages under Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

(June 2, 2020) On May 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that the Republic of Sudan could be held liable for $4.3 billion in punitive damages related to state-sponsored acts of terrorism that occurred in 1998. (Opati v. Republic of Sudan, No. 17-1268 (May 18, 2020).) Case History In 1998, al-Qaida orchestrated simultaneous […]

United States: Appellate Court Orders Dismissal of Palestinian Suicide Bomb Case on Procedural Grounds

(May 27, 2020) On April 14, 2020, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determined that civil claims against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (the Palestinian defendants) by victims of a suicide bombing could not withstand a procedural challenge to personal jurisdiction. (Shatsky v. Palestine Liberation Org., No. 17-7168, […]

Brazil: Supreme Court Rules Federal Police Plea Bargains Are Constitutional

(June 25, 2018) On June 21, 2018, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) ruled on a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality (Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade (ADI) 5508) proposed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Procuradoria Geral da República), holding that agents of the Federal Police (Delegados) could not make plea bargain agreements (acordos de […]

China: Supreme People’s Court Adds Four More Circuit Courts

(Feb. 13, 2017) On December 28 and 29, 2016, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Circuit Courts of China’s highest court, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), officially inaugurated their operations.  (Zuigao Fa Disan Disi Xunhui Fating Jiepai, Kaishi Zhengshi Bangong) [SPC 3rd and 4th Circuit Courts Launched, Started Formal Operations], XINHUANET (Dec. 29, 2016); Zuigao Renmin […]