An Overview of International Litigation: Key Points And Considerations

by gclatworthy on March 22, 2013

International law is not like any other area of law, even when it addresses common legal concerns. International law must take into account the different laws and customs of the nations involved. Since 1893, most legal issues that involve entities from different nations refer to the Hague Conference for legal protocols.

There are many factors that must be taken into account when pursuing an international claim. These include:

• Country Cooperation. All legal issues, regardless of matter, must have full cooperation of both countries to proceed. Attorney Michael Doyle, is experienced in international litigation and advises “It is critical that you have U.S. counsel who are skilled in handling the challenges of international procedures and law.” For example, if a person is making a personal injury claim in a country that does not allow foreign claims, the court case may be denied without recourse.

• United Nations. The UN Charter for a country may have an impact on the ability of a case to be tried in a specific country. Some countries will require that the court case be held only in their country or possibly a neutral court in a different country.

• Private International Law. Private international law is much different than public law and must take into account the different case law that is present in both countries involved. Extensive research is required to determine what laws will take precedent if the case must go to trial.

Involvement Of A U.S. Attorney 

Because of the diverse laws and protocols that are involved with private international law, it may be necessary to involve a U.S. Attorney with any claim being made against a foreign national or company. A U.S. Attorney has the ability to interact with different foreign officials and offices in a manner that will be beneficial to the American citizen that has been harmed.

Making An International Legal Claim

If you are visiting a country and are injured by a person or an entity, after receiving the proper medical care, you should contact the American Embassy in that country. Depending on the country that you are visiting, you may need to fill out paperwork about the incident with the embassy prior to any legal action being taken. Additionally, the embassy can also provide you with the necessary help for any additional medical care you may need or providing you with medical transport home.

Working With An Attorney

You may be recommended to an attorney/solicitor in the country that the event happened. Follow the directions of the embassy and make the appropriate contact. You can secure U.S. representation as soon as you return home. Your U.S. based attorney can work with the attorney in the other country. Do not commit to anything until you have spoken with a qualified international attorney in the United States. You may have different rights as a U.S. citizen than those afforded to people in the country in which you were visiting. To protect your rights, always work with your U.S. attorney.

Overall, international disputes can be tricky to handle, but they are not impossible. It usually involves many different attorneys, government officials, and possibly an international court. Working with the right agencies will ensure that the case moves forward in compliance with all international laws. 

Georgina Clatworthy is a U.K based legal writer who writes regularly on topics relating to the U.S legal system.  Michael Doyle is a founding partner in trial lawyer firm, Doyle Raizner, LLP. He is experienced in international litigation helping to represent a number of U.K. residents who had been injured whilst on holiday in the U.S, as well as helping claimants from other countries who had been injured because of the actions of multinational companies.

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