The Strange Cases of Alberta's Guarantees Acknowledgement Act: A Study in Choice-of-Law Method

Dalhousie Law Journal, Volume 11, Number 1, p. 208. 1987

47 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2013

See all articles by Vaughan Black

Vaughan Black

Dalhousie University - Law School

Date Written: September 1, 1987

Abstract

Fifty years ago John Willis wrote Two Approaches to the Conflict of Laws: A Comparative Study of the English Law and the Restatement of the American Law Institute. There he described two different — perhaps even opposed — conceptions of the problem posed by cases involving geographically complex facts. It is a goal of this article to assess the status and the vices and virtues of those two approaches in Canada today. Such a task is not a mere updating of Willis' piece, though that alone might be a useful exercise. In the first place, Willis' analysis takes place largely at the level of conflict-of-laws theory. He is concerned with the way in which one's understanding of the jurisprudential nature of conflict of laws affects one's approach. Of such matters there is virtually no discussion in Canadian courts today. For instance, argument over whether a Canadian conflict of laws is based on a vested rights theory or a local law theory rarely occurs today in either courtroom or classroom. But the disputes over theory of the 1930s are now reflected in disputes over judicial methodology: What facts are relevant to a choice-of-law decision? What questions should be asked and in what order? What sort of arguments can be made and what authorities should be appealed to? In addition to analyzing the state of Willis' two approaches today I want to comment on why the terms of the debate between those approaches have become so predictable.

Keywords: conflict of laws, geography

Suggested Citation

Black, Vaughan, The Strange Cases of Alberta's Guarantees Acknowledgement Act: A Study in Choice-of-Law Method (September 1, 1987). Dalhousie Law Journal, Volume 11, Number 1, p. 208. 1987, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2318563

Vaughan Black (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Law School ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

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