NewYorkUniversity
LawReview

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Sarah E. Coco

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The Value of a New Judgments Convention for U.S. Litigants

Sarah E. Coco

A new Judgments Convention creates common, binding rules for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments among countries that are party to the Convention. This Note considers what such a Convention would have to offer U.S. litigants. It starts by examining a common scholarly view—that U.S. judgments are unreasonably difficult to enforce abroad, in comparison to the relative ease of recognizing and enforcing foreign judgments in the United States. It argues that this view is out of date, due to improvements in three areas that have traditionally prevented the recognition of U.S. judgments—jurisdiction, public policy concerns about punitive damages, and reciprocity. It then considers the Convention in light of the knowledge that U.S. judgments have become easier to enforce abroad and argues that the Convention would still offer important benefits to U.S. litigants, both by making the rules for recognition and enforcement more predictable and transparent, and by “locking in” existing improvements in foreign law. It concludes by arguing that U.S. litigants would benefit if the United States joined the Convention.