International Comity in Comparative Perspective

15 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017 Last revised: 13 Oct 2017

See all articles by William S. Dodge

William S. Dodge

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: September 29, 2017


In the United States many of the doctrines that mediate the relationships between different legal systems are viewed as manifestations of international comity. Continental European states have similar doctrines but do not see them through a comity lens. This chapter explains the difference in approach through the influence of Joseph Story in the United States and Friedrich Carl von Savigny in Europe. While explaining that international comity does not preclude the adoption of rules or the codification of doctrines, the chapter suggests that international comity highlights the distinction between domestic law and international law, emphasizes the freedom of each state to shape these doctrines as it sees fit, and makes it easier to see interrelationships among the doctrines.

Keywords: international comity, mutual trust, Joseph Story, Savigny

Suggested Citation

Dodge, William S., International Comity in Comparative Perspective (September 29, 2017). The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law (Curtis A. Bradley ed., 2018, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

William S. Dodge (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

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