Courthouse Steps Oral Argument Teleforum: Republic of Hungary v. Simon and Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp

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On December 7, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases involving the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). 

In Republic of Hungary v. Simon, the issue is whether a district court may abstain from exercising jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act for reasons of international comity, in a matter in which former Hungarian nationals have sued the nation of Hungary to recover the value of property lost in Hungary during World War II but the plaintiffs made no attempt to exhaust local Hungarian remedies.

In Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, the issue is whether the “expropriation exception” of the FSIA, which abrogates foreign sovereign immunity when “rights in property taken in violation of international law are in issue,” provides jurisdiction over claims that a foreign sovereign has violated international human rights law when taking property from its own national within its own borders, even though such claims do not implicate the established international law governing states’ responsibility for takings of property. Is the doctrine of international comity unavailable in cases against foreign sovereigns, even in cases of considerable historical and political significance to the foreign sovereign, when the foreign nation has a domestic framework for addressing the claims?

Prof. Alberto Coll and moderator Jim Dunlop join us to discuss both these cases. 


Prof. Alberto R. Coll, Vincent de Paul Professor of Law and Director of Global Engagement, DePaul College of Law

James C. Dunlop, Senior Attorney, Sensient Technologies Corporation



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