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Friday, September 03, 2010

Ind. Courts - “Three Influential Seventh Circuit Judges Debate the Usefulness of Expert Testimony to Prove Foreign Law”

Yesterday's 7th Circuit opinion in the case of Bodum USA, Inc. v. La Cafetiere, Inc. (ND Ill.) is the subject of an entry today by Prof. Eugene Volokh, who writes in the Volokh Conspiracy:

How Appealing links to this Seventh Circuit decision, which includes very interesting opinions by Judges Easterbrook, Posner, and Wood (all among the most respected federal appellate judges in the nation, and all former University of Chicago law professors). * * *

The question is: How are courts to determine what foreign law is, especially when it’s in a foreign language? The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow courts to rely on statements by experts in foreign law. But Judges Easterbrook and Posner argue that, for the law of many prominent countries (such as the French law involved in this dispute), reliance on experts is bad practice — it’s better for judges to consult English-language translations and treatises, which will be largely relatively objective, rather than the statements of experts hired by each party. * * *

Judge Wood disagrees, arguing that judges are too likely err in interpreting foreign law, again especially when it is in a foreign language.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 3, 2010 10:26 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions