Books Developments in PIL Scholarship

A Conflict of Laws Companion

Andrew Dickinson and Edwin Peel are the editors of A Conflict of Laws Companion – Essays in Honour of Adrian Briggs, which was just published by Oxford University Press.

The book is a collection of 13 essays written by scholars and practionners, including three members of the highest courts of common law jurisdictions, who all did either the BCL or a DPhil at Oxford with or under guidance from Adrian Briggs.

The book is a tribute to a teacher and scholar that one of the contributors presents as Oxford’s third giant in the conflicts field in succession to A V Dicey (to 1922) and J H C Morris (to 1984). In the foreword of the book, Lord Mance notes that, “on the top of all this (…) Adrian Briggs has managed a busy Temple practice (including at the highest levels cases such as Rubin v Eurofinance, The Alexandros T and Enka v OOO Chubb, all discussed in the book) as well as featuring in and contributing valuably to the work of Parliamentary and other committees.”

The list of the contributions and their authors can be found here. They examine, inter alia, again in the words of Lord Mance:

– how far conflicts principles serve private interests of consent and obligation and how far statist interests;
– the proper understanding of comity, which Briggs roots in territoriality;
– the concept of the natural forum, to the development of which the young Briggs contributed so significantly (as recorded by Lord Goff in The Spiliada in 1986);
– the extent to which jurisdiction needs to be defined in England or in overseas jurisdictions both by gateways for service out and within these by discretion;
– the scope and operation of the EU rule regarding joinder of co- defendants (Art 8(1) of Brussels 1) in the light of the ‘sorry mess’ made by the Court of Justice in this area in and after Owusu v Jackson;
– the extent to which the anti- suit injunction can really be justified as directed purely in personam;
– the extent to which recognition of a foreign decision may, consistently with principles of comity and territoriality, be refused where it was in English eyes clearly obtained in breach of an English choice of jurisdiction clause; and
– as a final example close to Adrian Briggs’ heart, the extent to which such a breach may, where necessary as a fall- back, be redressed by the tool of a damages claim, a course recently sanctioned at highest judicial levels in The Alexandros T.

On a personal note, I should add that Adrian Briggs also supervised the work of numerous doctoral students visiting Oxford to delve into the intricacies of the common law. I was fortunate to be one of them 25 years ago (and to learn that, yes, it was necessary to read Australian scholars to understand equitable remedies). He was also ready to participate to the defence of doctoral theses in Paris and Luxembourg.

In a memorable post that he wrote for this blog on the recent case of the CJEU in Wikingerhof, he concluded: “Brexit, Covid, and now Wikingerhof. What a wretched year. We are only one horse short of an Apocalypse.” One hopes that this horse is not his retirement from Oxford, and that, to avoid any Apocalypse, he will continue to write, including on this blog.

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