Customs Court Jurisdiction in International Trade Cases

This article discusses the specific problems involved in Customs Court jurisdiction. After outlining in Part I these jurisdictional problems and the court’s failure to deal with them, the article, in Part II, proposes an analytic framework that focusses attention on the relevant criteria for ascertaining Customs Court jurisdiction. This framework is built upon the exclusivity of Customs Court jurisdiction and exhaustion of the administrative review process. The distinct rights of importers and manufacturers are also discussed and the special problem of cases which do not meet the procedural prerequisites for Customs Court jurisdiction are explored. Finally, Part III of this article presents the argument that both the jurisdiction and the powers of the Customs Court need to be expanded to include all customs cases. The article proposes a model of a unified Customs Court jurisdiction in lieu of the patchwork jurisdictional model which presently exists.