Thu, Aug. 10, 2006

Impolitical Interest

CK - Washington. An exchange of notes that addresses many points of a future agreement between nations but is silent on certain aspects of the agreement cannot remove the unspoken matter from the realm of justiciable issues under the act of state and related doctrines, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in Eli Gross et al. v. German Foundation Industrial Initiative et al., docket number 04-2744, on August 3, 2006.

The dispute involves the issue of interest payable by German industry on its delayed contribution to the Nazi reparation settlement fund. An exchange of notes had addressed many issues but not the type of interest disputed here. Backfilling the void with an amicus curiae brief from the German government did not help, the court ruled.

The decision represents a defeat for German industry in that the legal peace it sought has become elusive as a result of the failure to properly address every conceivable issue in the exchange of notes before and after the conclusion of the reparations deal. In the event that the government of the United States should address the issue in its future communications with the courts, the new ruling leaves open the door to the issue becoming non-justiciable.

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