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International Regulatory Enforcement

"Respectful Consideration": Supreme Court Clarifies Deference Due to Foreign Governments Interpretation of Its Law

In Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., the Supreme Court held that federal courts should not accept as binding a foreign government's representation regarding the meaning of its laws. In the aftermath of this ruling, parties engaged in international litigation before U.S. courts that raise questions of foreign law should not rely exclusively on a foreign government’s characterization of its laws. Instead, those parties should be ready to retain foreign-law experts and to present other evidence supporting their construction and application of those foreign laws.

  • While a foreign government's views regarding its own laws carry significant weight, they are not controlling.
  • Parties engaged in international litigation before U.S. courts should not rely exclusively on a foreign government's representation of its laws.

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