This essay explores the slow death of the Alien Tort Statute in the United States and the use of Canadian courts as an alternative for victims of human rights abuses seeking a court wiling to entertain extraterritorial claims. In Kiobel, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated all ATCA cases originating from a foreign-based controversy, save those that closely “touch and concern” the United States. At roughly the same time, Canadian courts have begun to entertain cases against foreign states that sponsor terrorism, Canadian mining companies accused of complicity in human rights violations committed abroad, and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, at least one high-profile Canadian firm has engaged in a unique alternative dispute resolution mechanism aimed at providing compensation for serious criminal activity and the government of Canada is encouraging similarly situated Canadian firms to do the same thing. Taken as a whole, the shift from the U.S. to Canada for this form of justice is likely to 1) promote a tighter nexus between U.S. and Canadian based human rights violators and any court likely to sit in civil judgment of such actions, and 2) deny victims of atrocities that do not fit into select categories any opportunity at redress.


Human rights sovereign immunity extraterritorial claims Alien Tort Statute remedies