Casablanca-on-the-Brazos: the decision in Dejoria v Maghreb Petroleum Exploration SA

David Coale at Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox has put up an interesting casenote on the recent Fifth Circuit decision of Dejoria v Maghreb Petroleum Exploration SA.  The decision looks at the requirements for Texas courts to decline to recognise judgments of foreign courts.

I imagine many courts in the Western world would be very reluctant to refuse to recognise judgments from courts in the third world without strong evidence that the decision in issue was (in effect) a figleaf for simple expropriation.  There may be a cautionary tale for them in the opprobrium heaped on the decision of In Re Southern Rhodesia [1919] AC 211.  In that case the Privy Council said that –

Some tribes are so low in the scale of social organization that their usages and conceptions of rights and duties are not to be reconciled with the institutions or the legal ideas of civilized society. Such a gulf cannot be bridged.

Arguments over which societies and societies are barbaric and which are civilised makes for a fun (if fairly Arts-Faculty-common-room) parlour game.  The need to decide which Courts are capable of acting fairly and which are not may be one of the only places where that debate perhaps still has teeth.


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