In recent years, the US Supreme Court has breathed new life
into the previously forsaken doctrine of prescriptive comity:
that, ordinarily, statutes should be read in accord with the
customary deference to the application of foreign countries'
laws within their own territories. As a result of Supreme Court
rulings in the patent and antitrust contexts, there now exists
the established presumption that US law governs domestically
and does not extend beyond the limits of the US.
An emerging question from this centres on the role of
prescriptive comity in construing the territorial scope of the
federal securities laws when applied to predominantly foreign
conduct that harms foreign purchasers of foreign securities.
Recent developments in private securities litigation, such as
in the Parmalat, Vivendi and Shell matters, show with mixed
results how courts are reacting to considerations of
prescriptive comity when confronted with the expansive use of
the federal securities laws...