Private International Law

Idealism, Pragmatism, Eclecticism


This book compares the two golden ages of private international law (PIL): the first is the era of Story and Savigny in the nineteenth century, while the second comprises the last fifty years. The period between 1970 and 2020 has been one of rapid changes and dense legislative responses, exemplified by the adoption of over one hundred national PIL codifications and almost as many international or regional conventions and regulations. These instruments provide a rich source for this book’s incisive and instructive comparisons and a fertile ground for a reliable assessment of the progress of PIL as a discipline. This book skillfully uncovers and meticulously documents the gradual—and largely unnoticed—transition of PIL from the idealism of the nineteenth century to the pragmatic eclecticism and pluralism of the twenty-first century.

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Symeon C. Symeonides is the Alex L. Parks Distinguished Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at Willamette University, in Oregon, USA. He is the drafter of two PIL codifications and an award-winning author of more than 20 books in different languages.
"Symeon Symeonides is, without doubt, the world’s leading expert on US and on comparative conflict of laws, and this book represents the apotheosis of his expertise. With its wealth of knowledge, its clarity of exposition, its depth of analysis, its happy linkage between practice and theory, it has its rightful place in the tradition of grand treatises on conflict of laws. A treatise tradition that began in the United State,s with Joseph Story in 1840, returns to that country. Symeonides’s book is a worthy successor to Story’s, and an asset for the discipline in the United States and worldwide."
Professor Ralf Michaels, Director, Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg.