Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Harry J. O'Kane

First Page



This talk will avoid a discussion of whatever problems exist in true international litigation. True international litigation may be defined as that body of law devoted to disputes between nations and governmental bodies which are addressed in nonterritorial world courts or those courts accepting the disputes under their own system of jurisprudence. My remarks will focus on the problems in obtaining evidence in a country other than the United States for use in a suit within the United States. A tabular listing of information relating to what can and cannot be accomplished in the way of obtaining evidence in various foreign jurisdictions would be of immense value to the practitioner. It is impracticable to undertake this task, however, because there are over 350 jurisdictions in the world, each with potentially different rules on obtaining evidence abroad. Even if such a listing were made available, any information obtained from various governmental, private, or academic sources which purports to set out foreign procedures would only be an approximation of the procedures in effect at the time the practitioner undertakes to obtain the evidence. A general overview, although possibly superficial, will furnish some idea of what to do and what not to do when seeking evidence from abroad.