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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Conflict of Laws, Global Governance, and Transnational Legal Order


By allocating governance authority among nations, conflict of laws— also known as private international law—helps bring order to transnational activity in a globalized world that lacks centralized legal institutions. In this way, conflict of laws is a distinct form of global governance. Yet conflictof- laws rules are predominantly national rules; these rules remain crossnationally diverse; and there is little international agreement on the rules to apply to solve conflict-of-laws problems. Thus, conflict of laws contributes to transnational legal order, but conflict of laws is itself transnationally disordered. Nevertheless, in at least two regions (Europe and Latin America) and two specialized areas of law (family law and commercial law), conflict of laws is increasingly ordered at the transnational level. These developments raise interesting questions about how conflict of laws contributes to transnational legal ordering and about how conflict of laws itself becomes transnationally ordered.

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