The Public-Private Distinction in the Conflict of Laws
William S. Dodge
University of California Hastings College of the Law
18 Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law 371 (2008)
This paper examines the public-private distinction in the conflict of laws. Conflicts rules have long influenced the ways in which courts have interpreted the extraterritorial reach of regulatory statutes, but two distinctions remain. The first is the external-internal distinction. In private law cases the court determines the applicable law by looking to rules external to the substantive law, while in public law cases the court determines applicability by looking internally for the law's intent. The second is the which-whether distinction. In private law cases the court asks which of two or more substantive laws applies, while in public law cases the court asks only whether the forum's substantive law applies. This paper argues that neither distinction is justifiable.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: conflicts, extraterritorial, public-private
JEL Classification: K13, K21, K33, K41
Date posted: May 30, 2008 ; Last revised: February 20, 2013
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