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April 24 , 2010

The Confluence of Public and Private International Law


A sharp distinction is usually drawn between public international law, concerned with the rights and obligations of states with respect to other states and individuals, and private international law, concerned with issues of jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in international private law disputes before national courts. Through the adoption of an international systemic perspective, Dr Alex Mills challenges this distinction by exploring the ways in which norms of public international law shape and are given effect through private international law. Based on an analysis of the history of private international law, its role in US, EU, Australian and Canadian federal constitutional law, and its relationship with international constitutional law, he rejects its conventional characterisation as purely national law. He argues instead that private international law effects an international ordering of regulatory authority in private law, structured by international principles of justice, pluralism and subsidiarity.

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