The Limits of Jurisdiction to Prescribe
Having opened up so many subjects in the first chapter, I hope to explore them one by one in the succeeding chapters. I want to start with a search for the limits, if any, of national jurisdiction over transnational activity.
Everyone understands that a state has jurisdiction over activities carried out wholly within that state, i.e., where both conduct and effect are confined to the state that exercises jurisdiction to apply its law. All other exercise of jurisdiction seems to be referred to as extraterritorial jurisdiction, with more than a hint that 'extraterritorial' means 'exorbitant', if not 'illegal'. I think it is unfortunate that the term 'extraterritorial jurisdiction' has acquired this pejorative cast.
A great many activities involve conduct in more than one state; others involve conduct in one state and effect in another. To suggest that such activity may or should be carried out without reference to the law of any state is to suggest a kind of Antarctica,1 a no man's land greater than any of us would tolerate for a world inhabited by people, not penguins. Whether one thinks of export/import transactions, of shipping or aviation or telecommunications, of investment across frontiers, or of myriad other activities, it is inconceivable that law is simply excluded. Of course there will be overlap, inconsistent values, even direct conflict. It is our task to sort these out, to devise some rules, or at least guidelines, that can help in distinguishing between genuine and spurious interests, promote accommodation between public and private interests, and between interests of different states.
I believe the search for appropriate limits on the exercise of jurisdiction____________________
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Publication information: Book title: International Litigation and the Quest for Reasonableness:Essays in Private International Law. Contributors: Andreas F. Lowenfeld - Author. Publisher: Clarendon Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 15.
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