Globalizing Savigny? The State in Savigny's Private International Law and the Challenge of Europeanization and Globalization

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The most up-to-date version of this piece can be found in the Duke Law Scholarship


How can conflict of laws respond to the challenges from globalization? Some argue that state-based approaches like governmental interest analysis are inadequate, and advocate a return to the approach taken by the German scholar Savigny in the 19th century. The article shows that the assumption is correct: state-based approaches have indeed become problematic. However, a return to Savigny's approach will not help: While Savigny's approach is multilateral and pays little regard to governmental interest, closer analysis reveals how central the state is to his theory. The consequences are shown in an analysis of a recent European case. It follows that we will have to think more radically about proper conflict of laws responses to globalization if we want to overcome the centrality of the state.

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