The Position of Foreign States before National Courts: Chiefly in Continental Europe

By Eleanor Wyllys Allen | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

THE Position of Foreign States before National Courts has been a subject of contemplated international regulation for more than fifty years. One of the notable non-official efforts to this end was the Project adopted by the Institute of International Law at its Hamburg session on September 11, 1891. This resolution suggested material limitations upon the immunity of states and sovereigns from suit in foreign courts. In September, 1924 the Assembly of the League of Nations undertook a consideration of the "subjects of international law the regulation of which by international agreement would seem to be most desirable and realisable at the present time." In the spring of 1927 the Committee of Experts for the Progressive Codification of International Law decided to include among the questions which appeared ripe for international regulation the question of the Competence of the Courts in regard to Foreign States. It felt that it was "desirable to ascertain, exception always being made of the case of acts of State, whether and in what cases, particularly in regard to action taken by a State in the exercise of a commercial or industrial activity, a State can be liable to be sued in the courts of another State."

In the meantime, one phase of the general question had been dealt with in a diplomatic conference which resulted in the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Concerning the Immunities of Government Vessels, signed at Brussels, April 10, 1926.

More recently the Research in International Law of the Harvard Law School has prepared a Draft Convention defining the occasions upon which foreign states may be subject to suit before local courts.

In view of the general interest and concern thus evidenced

-ix-

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