Alien Tort Statute (ATS)

Definition - What does Alien Tort Statute (ATS) mean?

The Alien Tort Statute is codified in Title 28 of the United States Code, Section 1350. The statute allows American courts to assume jurisdiction over tort actions involving claims under foreign law.

The nearly universal jurisdiction of the statute helps people who are not American citizens bring tort claims involving international law to American courts.

Justipedia explains Alien Tort Statute (ATS)

Specifically, the Alien Tort Statute gives federal courts the power to hear cases arising “where an alien sues for a tort” in violation of the “law of nations or of a treaty of the United States.”

The law of nations is a general term that refers to actions that are so widely condemned and considered so serious that any nation should be empowered to prosecute the actions if these tort actions are brought to them. The Alien Tort Statute makes it easier for the victims of violations of the law of nations to seek redress in the United States.

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