The Role of Public Policy in U.S. Private International Law

34 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2019

See all articles by John F. Coyle

John F. Coyle

University of North Carolina School of Law

Date Written: November 12, 2019


This book chapter explores the role played by public policy in the private international law of the United States in the twenty-first century. It first discusses the meaning of the term “public policy” and explores the role that concept plays in the choice-of-law and enforcement-of-judgments contexts. It then highlights the role that public policy plays in traditional and modern approaches to choice of law and provides an overview of recent anti-foreign-law legislation enacted by U.S. states. The chapter next offers a detailed discussion of how public policy informs the private international law analysis in seven specific areas — marriage and divorce, lineage and adoption, custody orders, succession, contracts, non-contractual obligations, and corporate law. It concludes by detailing the distinctive features of U.S. practice in this area and by identifying the ways in which this practice differs from that of other nations.

Keywords: private international law; conflict of laws; marriage; divorce; adoption; child custody; contracts; non-contractual obligations; sharia law; enforcement of judgments

Suggested Citation

Coyle, John F., The Role of Public Policy in U.S. Private International Law (November 12, 2019). UNC Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: or

John F. Coyle (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-843-9634 (Phone)


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