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FAQ / Q. What is the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act?


A. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of l976, Pub. L. 94-583, 90 Stat. 289l, 28 U.S.C. Sec. l330, l332(a), l39l(f) and l60l-l6ll [hereinafter the FSIA], limits the role of the Executive branch in suits against foreign governments and governmental entities by precluding the Department of State from making decisions on state immunity. By a circular note dated December 10, 1976, the Department of State informed all foreign embassies in Washington of the enactment of the FSIA (1976 Digest of United States Practice in International Law, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State, 327-328 (1977)). The US. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act codifies the restrictive theory of immunity, incorporating criteria, which the courts had developed in applying the theory, while codifying and applying international law. (See ch. 5, Restatement 3rd, Foreign Relations Law of the United States, sec. 451-463, pp. 390, 435, American Law Institute (1986).) The Act prescribes the means of service for suits against a foreign State or agency and instrumentality in Section. For a discussion of the Act and its service provisions, See the American Law Institute (ALI)'s Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, Chapter Five, Sec. 451, 460, pp. 390, 435 (general) (1986); Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure, Jurisdiction and Related Matters 2d, Sec. 3662, note 7, pp. 385-385 (1985), pp. 370-371 (1997 Supp.); Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil 2d, Sec. 1111, pp. 199, 226 (1985), pp. 40, 41 (1997 Supp.); Born & Westin, International Civil Litigation in United States Courts, 335, 402 (1989); Delaume, Law and Practice of Transnational Contracts, Chapter VIII, Sec. 8.01-8.15, pp. 223, 280 (1988).

 




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