Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



When a federal court in the United States compels the discovery of information located abroad to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the defendant, the court can apply the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or the Hague Evidence Convention. This Note argues that the approach taken by most courts--applying the balancing test formulated by the Supreme Court in Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale v. U.S. District Court and favoring application of the Federal Rules--is misguided. Courts should apply the Evidence Convention more often in jurisdictional discovery disputes. They can do so under the existing legal framework with one of three holdings: (1) the Aerospatiale test does not apply to jurisdictional discovery disputes and parties must use the Evidence Convention; (2) the Aerospatiale test does not apply and the Evidence Convention should be used as a first resort, turning to the Federal Rules only when the Convention's procedures prove infeasible; or (3) the Aerospatiale test applies, but recognition that the court has not established personal jurisdiction weighs so heavily in favor of applying the Evidence Convention that it has a similar effect as the first-resort approach. Each of these alternatives is preferable to the current approach.