Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law No: 114-222 (09/28/2016)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on May 17, 2016. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

(Sec. 3) This bill amends the federal judicial code to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity (i.e., a foreign state's immunity from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts).

Specifically, it authorizes federal court jurisdiction over a civil claim against a foreign state for physical injury to a person or property or death that occurs inside the United States as a result of: (1) an act of international terrorism, and (2) a tort committed anywhere by an official, agent, or employee of a foreign state acting within the scope of employment.

International terrorism does not include an act of war. Federal court jurisdiction does not extend to a tort claim based on an omission or an act that is merely negligent.

A U.S. national may file a civil action against a foreign state for physical injury, death, or damage as a result of an act of international terrorism committed by a designated terrorist organization.

(Sec. 4) The bill amends the federal criminal code to impose civil liability on a person who conspires to commit or aids and abets (by knowingly providing substantial assistance) an act of international terrorism committed, planned, or authorized by a designated terrorist organization.

(Sec. 5) It establishes exclusive federal court jurisdiction over civil claims under this bill.

It authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to intervene in civil proceedings to seek a stay. A court may grant the stay if the Department of State certifies that the United States is engaged in good-faith discussions with the foreign state to resolve the civil claims.

(Sec. 7) This bill's amendments apply to a civil claim: (1) pending on or commenced on or after enactment; and (2) arising out of an injury to a person, property, or business on or after September 11, 2001.