The NYU Journal of International Law and Politics’ 18th annual Herbert Rubin and Justice Rose Luttan Rubin International Law Symposium, “Tug of War: The Tension Between Regulation and International Cooperation,” featured a full day of panel discussions focused on how U.S. courts balance domestic regulatory interest and the need for international cooperation in the context of transnational litigation. The October 25 event, co-sponsored by the Center for Transnational Litigation and Commercial Law and the International Law Society, concluded with a talk by Lord Lawrence Collins of Mapesbury, a former justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and responding commentary by Judge Diane Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Speaking about the effect of corruption in foreign courts, Collins, introduced by Martin Lipton Professor of Law Linda Silberman, described two different contexts of corruption for a foreign court: instances in which a claim of forum non conveniens asserts that a more appropriate forum for a case exists elsewhere, and issues related to foreign recognition of foreign judgments. Collins then zeroed in on three key issues: the role that comity plays, the potential relevance of the active state doctrine, and the standard of proof for allegations of corruption in foreign courts. He quoted from one of his own opinions that advised extreme caution before asserting that justice would not be served in a foreign court.

In her responding remarks, Wood recalled a long-ago corruption scandal involving Chicago-area judges and the resulting public cynicism. Similar issues arose in discussions Wood had with judges in Russia, indicating the universality of the issue. “I think corruption is a very serious problem in many courts,” she said. “It’s not that we don’t know it’s there, but it’s a very difficult problem to get your hands around if you’re just a judge.”


Watch the full video of opening remarks and the first panel, "Regulating Forum Shopping: Courts’ Use of Forum Non Conveniens in Transnational Litigation" (1 hr, 51 min):