The History of Comity

Forthcoming, Jus Gentium – Journal of International Legal History, vol 5, 2019

36 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2019 Last revised: 2 Aug 2019

See all articles by Thomas Schultz

Thomas Schultz

King's College London; University of Geneva

Jason Mitchenson

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies; University of Geneva, Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 17, 2019

Abstract

This article explores the history of comity through events and the ideas of those who most influenced its development. By doing so, a number of important aspects may be revealed about the principle which have been hidden from view. This may shed new light on comity and open the door to new ways of thinking about the principle.

Comity was created to resolve the vexed question of how, and under what circumstances, sovereign States ought to recognize each other’s authority. Although originally developed as a means to facilitate international trade and commerce, it became a principle of justice. States act with, or ought to act, with comity because the recognition of foreign authority will, in many cases, be the most just exercise of their own. The principle embodies the idea that whereas every State is sovereign, often the most just exercise of one State’s own authority will in fact be to recognize the authority of another.

Keywords: comity, history of conflicts of law, sovereignty

Suggested Citation

Schultz, Thomas and Mitchenson, Jason, The History of Comity (June 17, 2019). Forthcoming, Jus Gentium – Journal of International Legal History, vol 5, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3405341 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3405341

Thomas Schultz (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University of Geneva ( email )

102 Bd Carl-Vogt
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

Jason Mitchenson

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland

University of Geneva, Faculty of Law ( email )

Switzerland

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