“Comity” is generally recognized as a courtesy or privilege extended as a matter of deference and good will rather than as a matter of right. The concept of comity is recognized in the American legal culture between nations and states of the United States. Comity between nations is generally defined as the body of rules that nations observe toward one another as a matter of courtesy or mutual convenience even though the rules do not form part of international law. Nations extending comity to other nations do, as a matter of practice, expect the same courtesy for its citizens within the jurisdiction of the nation to which comity is extended. The intranational comity between states of the United States is generally defined as the practice by which the courts of one state follow the decisions of another even though not bound by the law to do so. True comity is not a rule of law, statutorily or constitutionally. The comity concept is one of practice that has a value in securing uniformity of decision and discouraging repeated litigation of the same question.
Charles D. Cole
Last updated: 2006