My copy of the new Ristau’s International Judicial Assistance just arrived! This is not a review of the book, as I’ve only breezed through some of it, but I do want to recommend it to readers who, like me, find it useful to have a small library of really useful books.
The book honors the legacy of Bruno Ristau, a scholar and civil servant, who was one of the drafters of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Ristau’s treatise was a multivolume affair that was authoritative but that had become somewhat dated for the modern practitioner. And because it was a multivolume set not available online, consulting it meant (for me) a trip to the Social Law Library. The new edition, edited by David Bowker and David Stewart, is in a more useful one-volume format. Its chapters cover choice of law, choice of forum, proof of foreign law, and then the meat-and-potatoes Letters Blogatory topics: service, taking evidence, recognition and enforcement, and even legalization.
When I call the book “really useful,” I could mean a lot of things. I could mean John P. Sinnott’s A Practical Guide to Document Authentication, a really helpful book with country-by-country practical information about legalization of documents, which, with no disrespect intended, is filled with practical detail but has little if any doctrine or theory. I could mean the ABA desk treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation, to which I had the pleasure of contributing, and which is intended as a really useful guide for practitioners, written mostly by practitioners. I could mean Gary Born’s casebook on International Civil Litigation in United States Courts, which is like the Hart & Wechsler of our field. The new Ristau falls somewhere in the middle: scholarly (David Stewart is a professor at Georgetown Law, though he had a long and storied career in the State Department) but practical (David Bowker is the head of the international litigation group at WilmerHale). I have no doubt I’ll be consulting it regularly.
The book is available from Oxford University Press in hard cover and, of course, in electronic formats. You should get it!