Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Authors/Editors

Sarah McKibben & Anthony Kennedy



Publication Date



In the 1972 decision in M/S Bremen v Zapata Off -Shore Company, the U.S. Supreme Court brought together the development of doctrines dealing with party autonomy in choice of court and forum non conveniens. Especially when considered alongside developments favoring arbitration clauses in U.S. courts, the case provides a rich study of conflicts of laws jurisprudence in the twentieth century. This chapter begins with a discussion of fundamental elements of the development of party autonomy in U.S. law and the historical context of the law prior to The Bremen. A brief mention of how one prominent political family played a role in the facts that brought about the case is followed by a discussion of the legal analysis applied by the Supreme Court and the case-specific results of that analysis. The chapter closes with a discussion of how the decision contributed to the development of conflict of laws doctrines in the United States, and how those developments fit within the global evolution of related doctrines.