Corporate Counsel

International Disputes


International business and real estate are fascinating areas offering great opportunities for financial reward.  That said, it is a jungle out there.



Entrepreneurs, investors and realtors are increasingly keen on tapping into the foreign markets—as they should be.  A willingness to deal with different languages and customs opens up many interesting new prospects . . . and leads to some sticky disputes. ~ J. Harrington

To be fair, the possibility of a business or real estate venture ending in a dispute always exists—whether the deal is with someone around the block or around the globe.  People are people, and business is business.  That does not change.  There are, however, some special considerations when dealing with an international party.

International Business: Resolving Disputes

In the US, litigation is often expensive and time-consuming, but at least we do generally have the sense that the dispute will be resolved and justice will likely be served.  That is not the case in every part of the world.

The court systems of some countries are simply too slow or too corrupt to be of any use in enforcing one’s legal rights.

That is why the choice of law and choice of venue is critical in international business deals. Should a dispute arise, it will be important the matter is decided by a body of law that is favorable to your position and in a jurisdiction that is convenient for you.  Naturally, the other party will feel the same way.  That is where the experience and expertise of an international attorney is particularly valuable.

  •  If the other party will not agree to the law of your home state, then should you suggest an international body of law such as the CISG?  What about New York law?
  •  Are you better off arbitrating or litigating in court?  If the other party insists on a neutral venue, are you better off in Stockholm, New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.?
  •  Will you be able to enforce the judgment if you win?

The answers to these questions depend on several factors.  You can trust an HLA international attorney to navigate the issues and get you the best possible result.

International Business: Enforcing a Judgment

When it comes to international disputes, winning the case is sometimes the easy part.  Let’s say you have the foresight to include favorable choice of law and choice of venue clauses in your agreement with the other party, so you are able to initiate suit in your local court and obtain a judgment. So, now what? A judgment is just a piece of paper. How can you actually get paid?
The answer depends upon such things as the following:

  • Does the opposing party have assets in the US?
  • Does the foreign country recognize judgments from the US?
  • Will the foreign court domesticate a judgment from a US court?
  • Will the foreign court be effective in enforcing the judgment once domesticated?

So, doing business with a foreign party is a bit of a chess game that requires thinking several steps ahead.  HLA provides counsel that will put you in the best possible position to protect your rights throughout the business venture.
We provide representation at every stage:

  • negotiating the deal
  • drafting the agreements
  • resolving problems during performance of the agreement
  • negotiating is the resolution
  • arbitration or litigation
  • asset search
  • domestication of foreign judgments
  • collaborating with foreign counsel to execute on a judgment

Meet with an HLA attorney to discuss the strategy that will put you in the best position to protect your rights in the international arena.