The US Supreme Court Monday unanimously held in ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd. that “[o]nly a governmental or intergovernmental adjudicative body constitutes a ‘foreign or international tribunal'” under 28 U.S.C. §1782. Justice Barrett wrote the court’s opinion. This case is a consolidation of two cases involving foreign arbitration proceedings.
28 U.S.C. §1782 allows federal trial courts to order production of evidence and testimony “for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal.” The court defined a foreign tribunal as “a tribunal imbued with governmental authority by one nation” and an international tribunal as “a tribunal imbued with governmental authority by multiple nations.” The court concluded that “private adjudicatory bodies” do not qualify as foreign or international tribunals under the statute.
Since the purpose of 28 U.S.C. §1782 is comity, the court found it “difficult to see how enlisting district courts to help private bodies adjudicating purely private disputes abroad would serve that end.” Additionally, the court noted that extending 28 U.S.C. §1782 to include private bodies would cause tension with the Federal Arbitration Act.