Professional foreign language legal translation and court interpretation services play an important role in transnational litigation. In 2007 the Russian Federal Customs Service (FCS) filed a suit against the Bank of New York (BONY) in Russia seeking to recover customs duties and damages under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act’s (RICO). Filing a RICO claim in a Russian Court raises many procedural and choice-of-law principles – along with issues in international litigation. In this case a foreign plaintiff was seeking a civil remedy in a foreign court but applying US federal regulatory law.
This case highlights the regulatory gap that arises from cross-border transactions where economic harm occurs. One of the main issues is the use of foreign language translation. On the one hand, you are dealing with a foreign legal proceeding with its own rules and regulations. In the FCS/BONY case, this was held in Russia and in Russian. However, as was seen in this case, the plaintiff grounded its claim on US law. The US law would then need to have a foreign language translation and interpretation in accordance to Russian judicial customs. More so, when making a case based on a foreign law, precedent will need to be cited – meaning acquiring the foreign language translation of supportive US case law. Finally, whenever one enters a foreign language translation of evidence, one must be sure to follow the local jurisdiction’s procedures for certifying a foreign language translation.