Developments in PIL Journals Scholarship

International & Comparative Law Quarterly: Issue 2 of 2021

The new issue of International & Comparative Law Quarterly (Volume 70, Issue 2) is out. Some of the articles relate to private international law. Their abstracts are provided below. The whole issue is available here.

P. Giliker, Codification, Consolidation, Restatement? How Best to Systemise the Modern Law of Tort

The law of tort (or extra or non-contractual liability) has been criticised for being imprecise and lacking coherence. Legal systems have sought to systemise its rules in a number of ways. While civil law systems generally place tort law in a civil code, common law systems have favoured case-law development supported by limited statutory intervention consolidating existing legal rules. In both systems, case law plays a significant role in maintaining the flexibility and adaptability of the law. This article will examine, comparatively, different means of systemising the law of tort, contrasting civil law codification (taking the example of recent French proposals to update the tort provisions of the Code civil) with common law statutory consolidation and case-law intervention (using examples taken from English and Australian law). In examining the degree to which these formal means of systemisation are capable of improving the accessibility, intelligibility, clarity and predictability of the law of tort, it will also address the role played by informal sources, be they ambitious restatements of law or other means. It will be argued that given the nature of tort law, at best, any form of systemisation (be it formal or informal) can only seek to minimise any lack of precision and coherence. However, as this comparative study shows, further steps are needed, both in updating outdated codal provisions and rethinking the type of legal scholarship that might best assist the courts.

C. Harris, Incidental Determination In Determinations in Proceedings under Compromissory Clauses

A dispute brought before an international court or tribunal pursuant to a compromissory clause in a specific treaty may involve issues under rules of international law found outside of the treaty in question. In what circumstances can a court or tribunal determine such external issues? At present, there is no clear answer to this question. This article sets out a framework for how courts and tribunals exercising jurisdiction under compromissory clauses could approach external issues.

M. Teo, Narrowing Foreign Affairs Non-Justiciability

The UK Supreme Court’s decision in Belhaj v Straw defined foreign affairs non-justiciability and unearthed its constitutional foundations. However, two decisions since Belhaj—High Commissioner for Pakistan v Prince Muffakham Jah and The Law Debenture Trust Corpn plc v Ukraine—have called Belhaj into doubt, narrowing non-justiciability to give effect to ordinary private law rights. This article analyses these decisions and argues that their general approach of subjecting issues involving transactions between sovereign States to private international law’s framework is desirable, because the constitutional foundations of non-justiciability identified in Belhaj are shaky. Yet, it is suggested that private international law itself may require courts to exercise judicial restraint on these issues, given its goal of upholding the efficient resolution of international disputes in appropriate fora.

The issue also contains review, by M. Chen-Wishart, Y. Wu, of Contract Law in Japan by H. Sono, L. Nottage, A. Pardieck and K. Saigusa, Wolters Kluwer: Alphen aan den Rijn 2018.

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