The New Multipolarity in Transnational Litigation: Foreign Courts, Foreign Judgments, and Foreign Law
Marcus S. Quintanilla and Christopher A. Whytock, The New Multipolarity in Transnational Litigation: Foreign Courts, Foreign Judgments, and Foreign Law, 18 Sw. J. Int'l Law 31 (2012)
Conventional wisdom suggests that the transnational litigation system is essentially unipolar, or perhaps bipolar, with the United States and the United Kingdom acting as the leading providers of courts and law for transnational disputes. Our overarching conjecture is that this unipolar (or bipolar) era – if it ever existed at all – has passed, and that transnational litigation is entering an era of ever increasing multipolarity. If this intuition is correct, then it will be increasingly important for U.S. judges and lawyers to be comfortable handling a wide range of conflict-of-laws problems, and prepared to consult closely with their colleagues abroad.
In this Article – based on our remarks at the International Law Weekend-West Conference held at Southwestern Law School in February 2011 – we develop three aspects of this conjecture, corresponding to three dimensions of the new multipolarity in transnational litigation. In Part I, we discuss the growing relative importance of non-U.S. forums for transnational litigation. In Part II, we highlight the potential proliferation of foreign judgments brought to the United States for recognition or enforcement. And in Part III, we consider the pervasiveness of foreign law issues that are likely to confront U.S. judges and lawyers, and the accompanying challenges of making determinations of foreign law in the wake of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision in Bodum USA, Inc. v. La Cafetière, Inc.