There are three groups of thought on the nature of conflict of laws: universalism, particularism and dualism. Universalism insists on the uniform, universal and obligatory norms that private international law imposes to all states in the world. Friedrich Carl von Savigny and Pasquale Stanislao Mancini are the leading advocates. Particularism is represented by Albert Venn Dicey and Martin Wolff, holding each state creates its own private international law norms pursuing its own policy, making private international law domestic law instead of international law. Duralists include Ernest Zitelmann and Rudolf Bystricky, who believe that private international law regulates both domestic and international legal relations whose sources include not only domestic law but also international conventions and custom; therefore, private international law is both internal and international in nature. Chinese scholars approach this issue from the perspective of historical materialism believing in an evolutionary process, by virtue of which private international law has been progressing from internal law to international law. In the earlier period private international law comprised conflicts rules only in domestic legislation; in other words, private international law undoubtedly originated from internal law in nature. Only after the nineteenth century, when international conventions and custom gradually became the sources of private international law, did scholars have disagreements on the nature of the discipline. Based on the historic background, the discipline depends on the specific stage where private international law is situated now in its evolutionary process.
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