Researching the U.S. Court of International Trade

This guide identifies case law access points and legislation and rules relating to the United States Court of International Trade (USCIT), a U.S. federal court.


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History of the Court


The USCIT website indicates that the first case tried by the first judge appointed to the first court established under the United States Constitution dealt with a dispute involving importation to the new nation. Since then, many customs and international trade cases have come before U.S. courts.

The predecessor to the USCIT was the Board of General Appraisers, provided for by Congress in 1890. See Customs Administration Act of 1890, ch. 407, 26 Stat. 131. In 1926, Congress replaced the Board of General Appraisers with the United States Customs Court, established under Article I of the Constitution. See Act of May 28, 1926, ch. 411, 44 Stat. 669.

In 1956, the Congress declared the Customs Court to be a court established under Article III of the Constitution, thus integrating it into the federal court system. See Act of July 14, 1956, ch. 589, 70 Stat. 532 (codified at 28 USC 251(a) (1994)).

In the late 1960s, the Congress determined that fundamental changes in the Customs Court's procedures, jurisdiction and powers were required. These broad changes were implemented through two pieces of legislation, one addressing the procedural changes to the Court, and the other the substantive changes. The Customs Courts Act of 1970 (Pub. L. No. 91-271; §110, 84 Stat. 274) addressed the procedural reforms, and the Customs Courts Act of 1980 (Pub. L. No. 96-417, 94 Stat. 1727) addressed the remaining substantive issues. Through the Customs Courts Act of 1980, the United States Customs Court became the United States Court of International Trade.

Looking up the Laws in this Section

The acts mentioned in this section can be accessed on Lexis and Westlaw by using the Statutes at Large citation. In Lexis, under the "Get a Document" tab, type in the citation of the law (e.g. 26 Stat. 131); in Westlaw, type in the citation in "Find by Citation." To look up these laws in print, consult United States Statutes at Large, KF50 .U5.