Emory Law Journal

Article Title

Human Rights After Kiobel: Choice of Law and the Rise of Transnational Tort Litigation


Roger P. Alford


The Supreme Court in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. held that the presumption against extraterritoriality applied to the Alien Tort Statute. As such, international human rights litigation as currently practiced in the United States is dead. The demise of the ATS will signal the rise of transnational tort litigation. Virtually every complaint pleading a human rights violation could allege a traditional domestic or foreign tort violation. With transnational tort claims, there is no presumption against extraterritoriality. Instead, courts apply state or foreign tort laws based on traditional choice-of-law principles.