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The Empire TrapThe Rise and Fall of U.S. Intervention to Protect American Property Overseas, 1893-2013$
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Noel Maurer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155821

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155821.001.0001

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Escaping by Design?

Escaping by Design?

(p.387) Ten Escaping by Design?
The Empire Trap

Noel Maurer

Princeton University Press

This chapter recounts how over the course of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s a series of small legal and political innovations began to allow private investors to use international tribunals to sue foreign governments and then use American and European courts to enforce the decisions. Before 1945, the doctrine of absolute sovereign immunity held that no state could be held accountable for its actions in the courts of another state. After 1945, reforms began to chip away at sovereign immunity. Reforms arose from efforts to depoliticize investment disputes: first by giving private investors the right to take foreign governments to arbitration without the need to have their home government “espouse” the claim; then by giving national courts the right to enforce arbitration judgments against foreign governments.

Keywords:   political innovations, private investors, international tribunals, American court, European court, sovereign immunity, arbitration judgments

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