Is it Possible to Sue Someone for Legal Disputes Abroad Based on Jurisprudence? | LegaMart Articles
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Is it Possible to Sue Someone for Legal Disputes Abroad Based on Jurisprudence?

If someone has wronged you or committed a crime against you while you’re in a foreign country, you may be wondering if it’s possible to take legal action against them. The answer is yes. It is possible to sue someone for legal disputes abroad based on jurisprudence. The process of suing someone abroad can be accomplished through litigation or arbitration. You might want to try and take legal action in your home country based on local laws, but this is not always possible.

Suing someone for legal disputes abroad requires specific steps before filing. The first step is determining the location of the person you want to sue and finding out if that person has assets in your country. If that person has no assets in your country, it may be difficult to sue them in your country’s courts. The second step would be filing a lawsuit with the help of an attorney who has experience with international law or international arbitration. The lawyer will file paperwork with the foreign and local courts where they practice law to represent you in both countries. 

In the following article, we will discuss in detail the possibility of suing someone for legal disputes abroad based on jurisprudence.

Should you Even Consider Suing Someone Abroad?

A globe and law books symbolizing sue someone for legal disputes abroad

For any of our readers who have never considered suing someone abroad, here are some reasons why you should. The first reason is that you may not need to prove that the person has done something wrong; instead, you only need to show that they caused damage to you (or your business) while acting under their jurisdiction. You need to ensure that they are subject to the laws of your country. 

An example would be a US citizen sued in France for copyright infringement. 

Another reason to sue someone abroad is that you want to protect yourself from losing money in court fees. Paying a counsel to represent you in a suit in the United States may be expensive, whereas you might be able to find someone who will work pro bono in a foreign country. If you decide to pursue the path, make sure you know the country’s law before you file suit. You may not get away with breaking the law, especially if you’re doing something illegal.

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History of Suing People Abroad

The history of suing people abroad dates back to the early 1900s when American companies began to sue foreign countries for patent infringement. In the late 1800s, the United States government passed the sherman antitrust act to protect consumers from monopolies and unfair business practices. However, the government did not enforce the mentioned act until after World War I. After the war, many European countries were left bankrupt and had to sell off their assets at low prices. These sales included patents and copyrights. Many American companies saw these opportunities and began to file lawsuits against these countries for copyright infringement.

Things to Keep in Mind while Suing Someone Abroad

A client taking legal advice to sue someone for legal disputes

Suing someone for a legal dispute abroad is never easy. However, it’s possible to sue someone based on jurisprudence, i.e., the legal system of the country where you’re suing.

Suing someone abroad can be a complicated process. Different laws and procedures may apply depending on the country where you wish to sue the individual. It may be difficult to sue someone based on jurisprudence from another country.

Some important things to be watchful of when suing someone abroad:

  • You must have a legal basis for your case.
  • You must file your case in the appropriate court.
  • The defendant may choose to fight the case in a foreign court.
  • There is no guarantee that you will win your case.
  • You must prove that the law of the country where you are suing them is similar to yours.
  • You may be able to sue someone for legal disputes abroad if you have witnesses that can testify in the case.

Possible Juridical Issues

If a written agreement between you and your foreign adversary does not exist, you may be able to take legal action in the country whose law is most favorable in allowing this. If you are suing someone in your own country, you must determine which law applies in your jurisdiction. For instance, if you reside in the United States, you must decide if the law of diversity (NDAA) applies to this process. If it is, you will need a thorough understanding of the US federal law system and how they apply to contract law and libel in the USA.

If it is not the case, despite no evidence of a written agreement, and the home country’s law still orders this, you will need to select the law based on where you live. Diversity and international compatriot laws are two common issues determining which jurisdiction applies.

Case Study: Enforcing a Judgment of an English Court Against a Foreign Company or Individual

A wooden hammer and chess showing issues to sue someone for legal disputes

Suppose you take legal action against a foreign company, sole trader, or individual in an English court and are successful. In that case, the next step is to enforce your judgment if the other party does not pay immediately.

There is a bilateral agreement between England and Wales and the countries of the European Union, so all member countries recognize and implement the decisions of other member countries. A similar arrangement exists between England and Wales and the Commonwealth of Nations. It would be best if you appointed a lawyer or representative in the foreign country in question to execute the decision on your behalf.

No bilateral agreement exists with the rest of the world, so national or state law will apply. You usually have to start a new case to recover the debt in the other party’s country of origin, a default decision.

Not much can be done to avoid cross-border legal disputes. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent more headaches than necessary:

  • Assure that the contract reached between you and the other party is accurately reflected in writing;
  • Consult lawyers to draft business terms that suit your business needs and that state that the agreement between you and the third party is governed by local law and that the courts have jurisdiction over any dispute;
  • Deliver the other party with a copy of your terms and conditions before entering into the contract and make it clear that those terms govern the contract;
  • Consider an arbitration clause in your terms of service or written agreement that states that the parties must arbitrate before litigating in the case of a legal dispute.

Challenges of Suing a Foreigner

A foreigner waiting to hear the final order to sue someone for legal disputes

Proving that the other party has committed a crime

To sue someone for legal disputes, you must prove that they did something wrong. If you want to sue a foreign national, you must show that they broke the local law. Most people don’t realize that just because you live somewhere doesn’t mean that you automatically get rights. You still have to follow directions and rules wherever you go. So if you were to say that I’m going to sue him for not paying me $100,000, it’s tough to do. It would take a lot of evidence to persuade a judge that he should pay you. Even if you have proof that he owes you money, it’s almost impossible for you to collect the money.

Proving damages

Secondly, you need to prove how much damage was done to you. You’ll probably lose if you try to sue someone over money unless you can prove that you lost more than the amount of money you’re suing them for.

Finding out where the opposing party lives

You’ll also need to know where he lives since courts only hear cases under their jurisdictions. And even then, they don’t always accept jurisdiction. For instance, if you want to sue a British citizen outside Britain, but you’ve never met him in person, you won’t be able to do anything about it. He could move to a different country and become immune to legal action.

Convincing a court that you have a case

You must convince a judge that you should win. Your suit should be maintainable. To do this, you must present the judge with enough evidence to help your case.

Hiring a lawyer

And finally, you’ll need to hire an attorney specializing in international law. These lawyers know what kind of evidence you’ll need to make your case and can help you prepare it.

To seek further assistance relative to suing someone/corporation abroad, our experts and experienced lawyers at LegaMart can help you connect with the right people and assist you immediately.

Conclusion

To conclude, if you are going to sue someone for legal disputes abroad, you must consider where you live, where the defendant lives, which court(s) has jurisdiction over your dispute, and why you want your case to be heard. 

For any of our readers who have never considered suing someone abroad, let me give some reasons why you should consider it. The first reason is that you may not need to prove that the person has done something wrong; instead, you only need to show that they caused damage to you (or your business) while acting under their jurisdiction. It means you don’t need to prove where they live, their state, or even if they’re still alive. You need to ensure that they are subject to the laws of your country. 

An example would be a US citizen sued in France for copyright infringement. Another reason to sue someone abroad is that you want to protect yourself from losing money in court fees. Paying a counsel to represent you in a suit in the United States may be expensive, whereas you might be able to find someone who will work pro bono in a foreign country. If you decide to pursue the path, make sure you know the country’s law before you file suit. You may not get away with breaking the law, especially if you’re doing something illegal.

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