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US legal doctrines

US legal doctrines

The following are legal doctrines that are often invoked in US Alien Tort Claims Act lawsuits, typically by defendants arguing that a court should not hear the case, or by courts justifying dismissal of the case.
 

Act of state
“The principle that no nation can judge the legality of a foreign country's sovereign acts within its own territory.” 
-Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th ed. 2004

See also:
- entry in International Law: A Dictionary, Boleslaw Boczek, 2005
- "The Act of State Doctrine and the 'Federalization' of International Law", Louis Henkin, Foreign Affairs and the United States Constitution, 1996
- post by Tobias Thienel on “The Core”, 23 Oct 2006 (blog on human rights, humanitarian law, intl. criminal law)
- Wikipedia entry
 

Forum non conveniens (inconvenient forum)
“The doctrine that an appropriate forum…may divest itself of jurisdiction if, for the convenience of the litigants and the witnesses, it appears that the action should proceed in another forum in which the action might also have been properly brought in the first place.”
-Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th ed. 2004

See also:
- Law.com dictionary entry
- Wikipedia entry
 

International comity
“...rules of courtesy or goodwill which states observe in their mutual relations without any sense of legal obligation under international law”
-International Law: A Dictionary, Boleslaw Boczek, 2005 (full entry)

See also Wikipedia entry
 

Political question
“the determination by a court...that an issue raised about the conduct of public business is a ‘political’ issue to be determined by the legislature...or the executive branch and not by the courts”
-Law.com Dictionary (full entry)

See also:
- "Political Questions", Louis Henkin, Foreign Affairs and the United States Constitution, 1996
- Wikipedia entry