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Understanding Rule 44 and foreign law

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2021 | Business Litigation

Businesses operating internationally is nothing new, although business interests are increasingly going global. If there is an issue with a foreign country’s law that is relevant during a United States litigation, the party questioning the law may be unsure about how to proceed.

Rule 44.1 is an amendment to Rule 44, which had some practical problems. The amendment provides the courts with an effective and uniform way of bringing up an issue with another country’s law.

General information about Rule 44.1

The general purpose of Rule 44.1 was to make the methods of determining foreign law and domestic law as similar as possible. According to the Legal Information Institute, one of the determinations the rule made was to make a ruling based on the question of law as opposed to fact.

The first sentence of the rule clarifies how a party should bring up the issue. The concerned party must give notice in writing and in a reasonable time frame. This notice may occur during the pleadings, but this is not always the case.

Rule 44.1 also describes materials that the court may use to determine a foreign law issue. This means that a witness who is an expert in foreign law must provide testimony or other materials to explain the law and how to apply it.

The courts may conduct their own research

Another question that Rule 44.1 answered was whether or not the court must make a determination based solely on the information provided by the expert witness. The rule states that the court may research the law and consider additional or better materials relevant to the foreign law.