Federalism in the European Union and the United States: Subsidiarity, Private Law and the Conflict of Laws

87 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2010 Last revised: 23 Jul 2014

See all articles by Alex Mills

Alex Mills

University College London, Faculty of Laws

Date Written: June 29, 2011


The United States has long been a source of influence and inspiration to the developing federal system in the European Union. As E.U. federalism matures, increasingly both systems may have the opportunity to profit from each others’ experience in federal regulatory theory and practice. This article analyses aspects of the federal ordering in each system, comparing both historical approaches and current developments. It focuses on three legal topics, and the relationship between them: (1) the federal regulation of matters of private law; (2) rules of the conflict of laws, which play a critical role in regulating cross-border litigation in an era of global communications, travel and trade; and (3) ‘subsidiarity’, which is a key constitutional principle in the European Union, and arguably also plays an implicit and under-analyzed role in U.S. federalism. The central contention of this article is that the treatment of each of these areas of law is related – that they should be understood collectively as part of the range of competing regulatory strategies and techniques of each federal system. It is not suggested that ‘solutions’ from one system can be simply transplanted to the other, but rather that the experiences of each federal order demonstrate the interconnectedness of regulation in these three subject areas, offering important insights from which each system might benefit.

Keywords: Federalism, Subsidiarity, Conflict of Laws, Private International Law, Private Law, European Union, Federal Common Law

Suggested Citation

Mills, Alex, Federalism in the European Union and the United States: Subsidiarity, Private Law and the Conflict of Laws (June 29, 2011). University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 369-455, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695008

Alex Mills (Contact Author)

University College London, Faculty of Laws ( email )

Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens
London, WC1H OEG
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/people/professor-alex-mills

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