International Judicial Monitor
Published by the American Society of International Law and the International Judicial Academy
December 2006, Volume 1, Issue 5

ASIL Sidebar

International Law and Litigation for Judges
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, image courtesy of
 Justice Ginsburg launched ASIL's Tillar House judicial event

On November 12, 2006, several dozen US federal and state judges gathered at the American Society of International Law’s Tillar House for the launch of a two day judicial conference on international law and litigation in US courts.

Also on hand for the launch, which featured remarks by US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Richard Goldstone, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, were international law experts and judges from Argentina, Canada, China, Germany and elsewhere from around the world. 

The conference, a collaborative effort of the Federal Judicial Center and ASIL’s Judicial Outreach Program, provided members of the judiciary with a comprehensive overview of international law and its sources, including how international treaties and customary international law can be incorporated into the US legal system and can be used in a court of law.

Participants also learned about how international tribunals function and were privy to discussions on comparative judicial practice in applying international law in domestic courts around the world as well as a review of the fundamentals of transnational civil litigation in US courts. 

Small group sessions provided participants with opportunities to work with leading scholars and practitioners in better understanding specific issues that often arise in the course of transnational litigation such as foreign sovereign immunity, anti-suit injunctions, and proof of foreign law. 

Justice Stephen Breyer; image courtesy of
 Justice Stephen Breyer addressed international law and US jurisprudence

In separate addresses, US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Harold Koh, Dean of Yale University’s School of Law, spoke about the historical role and contemporary relevance of international law in US jurisprudence. 

The American Society of International Law is actively engaged in providing professional development and networking opportunities to judges, and to the legal profession as a whole, as part of its efforts to promote greater awareness, understanding, and use of international law.

Recent ASIL activities and programs in this regard include:

  • A presentation by leading experts on the effectiveness of regional human rights courts and mechanisms such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court and Commission on Human Rights, and the African Court on Human And Peoples’ Rights. 
  • A briefing on strengthening law enforcement cooperation in combating international crime and terrorism by European officials, including the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator for the European Union, the Director of Europol, and the president of Eurojust.    
  • A webinar on international law and the internet which provided an overview of the most significant international law that applies to the internet and discussed specific transnational internet cases challenging international and domestic legal frameworks, such as Google’s censorship activities in China; France's assertion of jurisdiction over Yahoo!; and US efforts to regulate online gambling and bulk e-mail. 

Andrew Solomon, ASIL Director of Research and Outreach Programs

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© 2006 – The American Society of International Law and International Judicial Academy.

Editors: James G. Apple, Andrew Solomon and Maria Staunton.
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