Survey of 1992 Developments in International Law in Connecticut

JurisdictionConnecticut,United States
Publication year2021
CitationVol. 67 Pg. 141
Pages141
Connecticut Bar Journal
Volume 67.

67 CBJ 141. Survey of 1992 Developments in International Law in Connecticut




141


Survey of 1992 Developments in International Law in Connecticut

By HOUSTON PUTNAM LOWRY (fn*) AND PETER W. SCHROTH (fn**)

After several years of frenzied activity, the pace of Connecticut legislation in the international area has slowed. This leaves the Bar an opportunity to become familiar with the newly enacted body of legislation, codified principally in Title 50a of the General Statutes. Part I of this article is a summary of the 1987 to 1991 legislation and its codification. Part 11 is a discussion of the Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act, adopted in Connecticut in 1992. Part III is a description of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the United States became a party in 1992. Part IV is a discussion of recent Connecticut decisions on the application of the Uniform Foreign Money-judgments Recognition Act. (fn1)

I. CODIFICATION OF 1987-1991 LEGISLATION

Title 50a was added to the General Statutes for "international" laws and several of the recent statutes have been codified under that title. However, other recent laws relating to international matters are codified in Titles 33, 51 and 52.

Title 50a now comprises five statutes, some of which have been renumbered:

1. International Wills, CONN. GEN. STAT. §§ 50a-1-50a-9 (formerly §§ 45-194a-45-194i). This is the Uniform International Wills Act, adopted in Connecticut in 1987. (fn2)

2. Uniform Foreign Money-judgments Recognition Act, CONN. GEN. STAT. §§ 50a-30-50a-38 (formerly §§ 52-




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610-52-618), adopted in Connecticut in 1988. (fn3)

3. Uniform Foreign-Money Claims Act, CONN. GEN. STAT. §§ 50a-50-50a-65, adopted in Connecticut in 1989. (fn4)

4. UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, CONN. GEN. STAT. §§ 50a-100-50a-136, adopted in Connecticut in 1989 and amended in 1991. (fn5)

5. Conflict of Jurisdictions Model Law, CONN. GEN. STAT. §§ 50a-200-50a-203, adopted in Connecticut in 1991. (fn6)

The Act Concerning International Obligations and Procedures, P.A. 91-324, (fn7) has been codified as follows:

P.A. Section CONN. GEN. STAT. Subject 1 § 52-59d Service of process abroad. 2 § 52-197b Taking of evidence abroad. 3 § 51-88 Arbitration agents not en- gaged in unauthorized prac- tice of law. 4 § 51-80a Foreign legal consultants. 5-8 §§ 33-182a, 33-182c, Foreign shareholders of 33-182g, 33-182k Connecticut professional corporations. 9 § 50a-101(2) Amendment of UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. 10-13 §§ 50a-200, 50a-201, Conflict of Jurisdictions 50a-202, 50a-203. Model Law. 14 § 52-156a Deposition to perpetuate testimony

II. UNIFORm TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION RECIPROCAL ACCESS ACT

On May 19, 1992, Connecticut enacted the Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act, which was proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1982. (fn8) The act came into force on October 1,1992.

In 1979, the American Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association adopted a report prepared by a joint committee entitled




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"The Settlement of International Disputes Between Canada and the United States of America." One of the major areas of concern was pollution. The damage pollution causes does not respect national boundaries. The primary legal problems are caused by the fact the polluter is usually outside the jurisdiction where the polluter causes damage.

Under common law, actions for damages concerning land could be brought only where the land was situated. This means a person whose Connecticut land suffered pollution damage could sue only in Connecticut. If the polluter was outside of Connecticut, the Connecticut plaintiff had to rely on the Connecticut "long arm" statute to obtain jurisdiction over the polluter. (fn9)

The long arm statute does not provide jurisdiction if the pollution is an isolated event and the polluter has no other contacts with Connecticut. Under such circumstances, the due process clause of the United States Constitution may prohibit Connecticut from exercising jurisdiction. (fn10) In such cases, a Connecticut plaintiff could pursue a polluter only in the polluter's home jurisdiction. If the polluter's home jurisdiction is common-law based, however, it may refuse to hear the case because the land is in Connecticut and the damage was suffered in Connecticut.

Furthermore, Canadian courts are not required to give full faith and credit to the actions of Connecticut courts. There is a very good chance that a Connecticut judgment based on this provision of the long-arm statute would not be honored by Canadian courts. (fn11) A Canadian court might require the action to be re-litigated or refuse to hear the case at all.

A person owning land damaged by pollution may be unable to find any of the polluter's assets where the land is located. Under




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present law, any judgment the injured party obtains in his home state may be unenforceable in the polluter's state because of jurisdictional problems. The polluter's home courts might not entertain an action because the harm was not done to land situated within their state. The end result is that a polluter may act with impunity and not suffer the consequences of his actions. This result defies common sense and moral justice. This Act was designed to eliminate this "Catch22."

The Act allows a suit to be brought in a reciprocating jurisdiction where the pollution originates. A "reciprocating jurisdiction" is one that has enacted the Uniform Transboundary Pollution Reciprocal Access Act or "provides substantially equivalent access to its courts and administrative agencies." (fn12) At this writing, the Act has been adopted in at least Colorado, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Wisconsin, Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island; we are not aware of any efforts to show that the access provided by other jurisdictions is "substantially equivalent."

The Act specifies that Connecticut courts are to use their own rules, excluding choice of law rules, to determine what constitutes pollution, whether there is a sovereign immunity defense and most other points.

III. UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

The United States Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification by the United States of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (fn13) in early 1992, subject to five reservations, five understandings, four declarations and a proviso. (fn14) Senator Bricker's ghost must have smiled when the United States became a party to the Covenant on June 8, 1992.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Covenant on December 16, 1966. It came into force on March 23, 1976, upon having...

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