Abstract

The American act of state doctrine provides that American courts will not decide the validity of public acts of recognized foreign sovereigns if those acts are committed and come to complete fruition within the territory of the foreign sovereign
This thesis examines the origin and purpose of the doctrine, as well as practical problems involved in its application. Actual or potential exceptions to the doctrine are explained : 1) the territoriality exception ; 2) the Bernstein exception ; 3) the Hickenlooper Amendment ; 4) the counterclaim exception ; 5) the commercial exception ; and 6) the treaty exception
Other concepts often confused with the act of state doctrine are then distinguished. These concepts include : the political question doctrine, foreign sovereign compulsion, and sovereign immunity. The thesis then outlines the present status of the doctrine and the continued need for case-by-case evaluation to determine whether it should apply

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