Scholarship

Dyzenhaus on Private International Law as a Branch of Jurisprudence

David Dyzenhaus (University of Toronto Law and Philosophy) has posted Not an Isolated, Exceptional, and Indeed Contradictory Branch of Jurisprudence on SSRN.

The abstract reads:

Private international law [PrIL] got—and gets—virtually no attention in general philosophy of law, by which I mean Anglo-American philosophy of law since World War II with its debates about the nature of law, of legal authority and obligation, and the relationship between law and morality; principally, the Hart/Fuller debate and the Hart/Dworkin debate. I argue that PrIL can illuminate these debates. My argument works by excavating the ‘deep juridical structure’ of the House of Lords decision in Oppenheimer v. Cattermole (1976) through the lens of an article by the great PrIL scholar, F.A. Mann, which changed the course of the case. In particular, I contrast Lord Cross’s dictum that a Nazi nationality-stripping decree of 1941 constituted ‘so grave an infringement of human rights that the courts of this country ought to refuse to recognize it as law at all’ with Lord Pearson’s dictum that an individual would lose his nationality ‘however wicked’ the government and ‘however unjust and discriminatory and unfair’ the law, as long as that government had ‘been holding and exercising full and exclusive sovereign power’ and had ‘been recognized throughout by our government as the government of that country’. I show that Cross’s conclusion presupposes a Kelsenian juridical structure and Pearson’s a Hartian one. Since only the former is properly juridical and can make sense of the idea of judicial duty in PrIL, it is to be preferred.

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