Contemporary Challenges and Continuing Relevance
Edited by Franco Ferrari and Diego P. Fernández Arroyo
Chapter 5: Private international law and the question of universal values
Private international law presumes, and responds to, plurality – of laws and of values. How does it then respond to ideas about universal values? In fact, the question involves three tensions: between formalism and values, between private international law and substantive law, and between plurality and universality. Private international law cannot isolate itself from questions of value, but how should it account for them? Attempts to explicitly take on conflicts of laws as conflicts of substantive values, as for example in the better law theory, have intrinsic weaknesses. Attempts to resolve such conflicts in the name of universal conflicts values are more promising. But existing conflicts values are in conflict among themselves and there is no set of meta-values that can resolve these conflicts. Ultimately, the chapter suggests two universal values that are specific to conflict of laws: responsivity and technicality.
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