The American Choice-of-Law Revolution: Past, Present and Future


This book is an updated and expanded version of the General Course delivered by the author at the Hague Academy of International Law in 2002. The book chronicles and evaluates the intellectual movement known as “the revolution” in American private international law. This movement began in the 1960s, caught fire in the ‘70s, spread in the ‘80s and declared victory in the ‘90s, leading to the abandonment of the centuries-old choice-of-law system, at least for torts and contracts. This book:
• explores the revolution’s philosophical and methodological underpinnings;
• provides the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of court decisions following the revolution;
• identifies the revolution’s successes and failures; and
• proposes ways and means (including a new breed of “smart” choice-of-law rules) to turn the revolution’s victory into success.
Symeon C. Symeonides is the drafter of three private international law codifications, and the author of six books and over sixty articles on the same subject, including the most widely read annual surveys of American choice-of-law cases.
'This is not only a most original monograph, not only a major contribution to the literature, not only a fine course in the conflict of laws, not only a treatise from which sophisticates and novices alike can learn much, not only an intellectual adventure, but quite simply a book one can very much enjoy reading. One can wrestle with it, take issue with it, and yet savor it. I had a wonderful time with it. Dean Symeonides has greatly enriched the field with this splendid new work.' - Review of original Hague Academy course, by Prof. Louise Weinberg, in: Michigan Law Review, May 2005
'Dean Symeonides has produced a splendid book on conflict of laws, one that I doubt anyone else could have written. ....The book is lucid, cogent and stimulating...[and].. provides a path out of the labyrinth of contemporary conflicts law and theory.....Dean Symeonides has continuously demonstrated that exercise of a sharp, critical mind does not require antagonism; that one can present important and original work without condemning the work of others; that theory and critique can be both intelligible and profound; and that conflicts colleagues, the bench and the bar can be supported in their struggles with conflicts law and are worth caring about.' - Review of original Hague Academy course, by Prof. Gene Shreve, in: American Journal of Comparative Law, Fall 2004
'Known both for his work in codifying choice of law rules in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and Oregon, and for his annual survey in the American Journal of Comparative Law of some 1,500 U.S. conflicts cases per year, Professor Symeonides here provides a splendid overview of all that has gone on in U.S. conflicts since 1963.' - Professor H. Patrick Glenn Id., in: McGiIl Law Review (2006) p. 211
Foreword; Tables; Charts and Maps; Biographical Note; Principal Publications; Chapter I Introduction; Chapter II The Scholastic Revolution; Chapter III The Judicial Revolution; Chapter IV The Choice-of-law Revolution Today; Chapter V The Distinction between Conduct-regulation and Loss-distribution in Tort Conflicts; Chapter VI Loss-distribution Tort Conflicts; Chapter VII Conduct-Regulation Tort Conflicts; Chapter VIII Products Liability; Chapter IX The American Choice-of-law Revolution: A Macro View; Chapter X The Next Phase in Choice of Law; Table of Cases; Bibliography; Index.
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