Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 44.1, a federal court determines the meaning of a foreign country’s law as a question of law. In doing so, the court should accord respectful consideration of a foreign government’s submission regarding the meaning of its law, but the court is not bound by that submission. A federal court should carefully consider a foreign state’s views about the meaning of its own laws. The appropriate weight in each case, however, will depend upon the circumstances; a federal court is neither bound to adopt the foreign government’s characterization nor required to ignore other relevant materials. No single formula or rule will fit all cases, but relevant considerations include the statement’s clarity, thoroughness, and support; its context and purpose; the transparency of the foreign legal system; the role and authority of the entity or official offering the statement; and the statement’s consistency with the foreign government’s past positions.
United States Supreme Court (Ginsburg, J.); June 14, 2018; 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3684