The Alien Torts Statute | L4703

This course will provide an overview of the Alien Tort Statute, a 200-year-old law that has recently been used by plaintiffs to bring claims in U.S. courts for human rights abuses committed in other countries. Passed in 1789, the ATS lay largely dormant for years until it gained widespread usage in the 1980s. Lawsuits under the ATS raise important questions of both civil procedure and international law, such whether the jurisdiction of U.S. courts should be extended beyond the nation's boundaries and how human rights violations should be defined for the purpose of imposing tort liability in domestic courts.

This class will examine the development of the ATS as a mechanism to enforce human rights protections, exploring legal, political and cultural perspectives on this topic. Students will participate in weekly discussions about the history of the ATS, its current policy implications, and what role, if any, the ATS will play in the future of human rights advocacy. This doctrinal- and policy-based approach will be complemented by workshops that use a concrete simulation to provide students a practical, hands-on approach to ATS litigation

Prerequisites: Civil Procedure
Credit Hours: 2
ULW: This course meets the Upper Level Writing requirement. (ULW)

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