San Diego Law Review


Kelly Shaul

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) grants state status, and therefore sovereign immunity, to any “agency or instrumentality of a foreign state.” Under some circumstances, where foreign corporations can demonstrate control by a foreign state through state-controlled intermediary companies, these corporations can gain sovereign immunity or procedural benefits of the FSIA. This phenomenon is known as “tiered” ownership. State-owned enterprises are common, and tiered ownership of commercial enterprises by foreign states is widespread among companies doing business in the U.S. This article argues that the concept of “tiered ownership” is not supported by the language of the FSIA and that courts should interpret the definition of “foreign state” not in light of “tiering” but in relation to the history of a more restrictive policy of foreign sovereign immunity.

Included in

Law Commons