Private International Law Redefined
Fifteen years ago, I gave a short course at the Hague Academy of International Law entitled 'Public Law in the International Arena'.1 My purpose then was to break down the to me unconvincing separation between public and private international law, by focusing on those areas in which private and public interests, and often the interests of two or more states, collided. The lectures were well received--in the sense that they stirred a good deal of comment and reaction, and no little controversy. The lectures also contributed to the agenda, and the approach, of Part IV of the American Law Institute's Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law ( 1987), with which I was associated for close to a decade, and that work in turn stimulated my case- and textbook on International Litigation and Arbitration ( 1993). The essays collected in this volume continue my pursuit of that area of the law, addressed both to private parties and to states and their agencies, and relying on all the resources known to lawyers--judicial decisions, national and international treaties and conventions, custom and practice, and, yes, common sense or what the Restatement calls reasonableness.
Some readers may be disappointed that I propose to omit, except as incidental subjects, many of the topics traditionally included in the course on Private International Law. It is not that I am uninterested in contracts and torts, in decedent succession, in marriage and divorce.2 But these traditional subjects have been well mined by others, and some choices have been necessary to the effort to make of these essays a volume to be read, rather than a reference book. Whether the topics I have chosen justify a full- blown treatise, I do not know; no one, so far as I am aware, has undertaken such a project. I do believe it is possible to articulate and illustrate some principles that will raise the level of discussion, possibly develop some consensus, and sharpen the debate where consensus remains elusive.____________________