Globalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes Against Humanity: The Lipietz Case

41 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2008 Last revised: 6 May 2008


Decided in June, 2006, the Lipietz case marks the unofficial entry into the French legal system of a tort action for complicity in crimes against humanity. It both departs from prior, established French law and reflects numerous mechanisms by which national law is transnationalizing. The case illustrates visible, invisible, substantive and methodological changes that globalization is producing as law's transnationalization changes national law. It also suggests some of the difficulties national legal systems face as their transnationalization produces legal change at a rate that outpaces the national capacity for efficient adaptation. The challenges illustrated by Lipietz, characteristic of globalization, include identifying the presence and effects of legal transnationalization, as well as developing needed adaptations without undermining fundamental national legal values.

Keywords: globalization, legal transnationalization, French law, crime against humanity, criminal law, tort law, civil law, comparative law

Suggested Citation

Curran, Vivian Grosswald, Globalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes Against Humanity: The Lipietz Case. American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 56, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-03, Available at SSRN:

Vivian Grosswald Curran (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-2649 (Phone)
412-648-2648 (Fax)

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