International Litigation and the Quest for Reasonableness: Essays in Private International Law

By Andreas F. Lowenfeld | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This volume is not a Treatise on Private International Law, but a set of essays, derived from lectures prepared for delivery in the General Course on Private International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law in the summer of 1994.

A number of subjects usually addressed in texts on private international law are not addressed at all or are addressed only by way of comparison with the principal topics. I have sought to focus here on areas that are of great concern both to lawyers advising participants in international transactions and to governments, but that have usually not been treated either in books on private international law or in books on public international law. The inevitable cost of this different focus has been to sacrifice some subjects commonly covered under the heading of Private International Law, in particular choice of law in wholly private transactions such as contracts and torts, and family law. On the other hand, I believe these essays, taken together, may bridge a gap that has long been too wide between 'public' and 'private' international lawyers and their disciplines.

It seemed natural to me--though it surprised some of the participants-- that a course devoted to problems of litigation should be presented in large measure through cases rather than solely through doctrine. Thus each of the chapters except the brief summary at the end contains a detailed discussion of at least one judicial decision, most more than one. The decisions selected for discussion are not necessarily authoritative, and all are subjected to critique; what the decisions have in common--regardless of level of decision or country of origin--is that they are illustrative of the topics addressed, and that they seem likely to stimulate the reader to think about the chosen topics in specific contexts. 'Further reading' inspired by any of the essays should generally start with the decisions reported on in the text.

I believe these essays contain a good deal of information not generally available; they also contain a good many opinions, some firm, some tentative. I trust the reader will be able to see distinctly where fact ends and opinion begins. The data are solid, and the footnotes are thorough, even where the conclusions may fail to convince.

Finally, a few words about the relation of these essays to the American Law Institute's Restatement of Foreign Relations Law ( 1987), a project with which I had the privilege to be associated for close to a decade. On the one hand my work on the Restatement formed and informed much of my thinking on the topics addressed in these essays; on the other hand I thought it

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