Blog Posts: U.S. Supreme Court

Sneak Preview: What Remains of the Alien Tort Statute After Kiobel?

By: Matteo M. Winkler

The U.S. Supreme Court held in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (PDF), 133 S. Ct. 1659 (2013), that the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), the well-known 200-years-old statute that entitles aliens to sue before federal courts for torts committed in violation of the law of nations, does not apply extraterritorially. The Court followed the 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank (PDF), 130 S. Ct. 2869 (2010), that excluded from the reach of U.S. courts any F-cubed actions, i.e. actions that present three foreign elements such as foreign plaintiffs, foreign defendants and facts happened in a foreign forum.

Kiobel concerned claims for damages for grave violations of human rights allegedly committed against the Ogoni community in Nigeria by the subsidiaries of the Shell group operating in the country. It was a typical F-cubed case, and the Court found it very easy to apply Morrison as leading precedent.

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No Comments | Posted by Stephen A. Moore on Wed. November 6, 2013 8:00 AM
Categories: International Human Rights, U.S. Supreme Court

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