JPMorgan Chase Bank v. Traffic Stream (BVI) Infrastructure Ltd., 536 U.S. 88, 11 (2002)

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Cite as: 536 U. S. 88 (2002)

Opinion of the Court

liot's Debates 493 (J. Wilson). See J. Jones, British Nationality Law and Practice 288 (1947) ("It is the practice of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to protect, as against foreign Powers, . . . [c]orporations owing their existence to the law in force in the United Kingdom and colonies"). Any doubters may consult the United Kingdom's own filings in this matter and others comparable, which express apprehension that expulsion of corporations like Traffic Stream from federal courts would cloud investment opportunity and raise the sort of threat to "the security of the public tranquility" that the Framers hoped to avoid. See, e. g., Brief for Government of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as Amicus Curiae; Diplomatic Note No. 13/2000 from British Embassy in Washington, D. C., to U. S. State Dept., Feb. 2, 2000, Lodging 29, p. 1 (available in Clerk of Court's case file); Diplomatic Note No. 90/2001 from the British Embassy in Washington, D. C., to the U. S. State Dept., Oct. 5, 2002, App. to Motion to File Brief as Amicus Curiae for Government of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1a.


Traffic Stream's alternative argument is that BVI corporations are not "citizens or subjects" of the United Kingdom. Traffic Stream begins with the old fiction that a corporation is just an association of shareholders, presumed to reside in the place of incorporation, see, e. g., Tugman, 106 U. S., at 120-121, with the result that, for jurisdictional purposes, a suit against the corporation should be understood as a suit against the shareholders, see id., at 121. Traffic Stream proceeds to read the British Nationality Act, 1981, as a declaration by the United Kingdom that BVI residents are not its citizens or subjects, but mere "nationals," without the rights and privileges of citizens or subjects, such as the right to travel freely within the United Kingdom. See I. Macdonald & N. Blake, Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice in the United Kingdom 130-131 (4th ed. 1995) (describing


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