Inaugural Lecture by Alex Mills (UCL): The Privatisation of Private (and) International Law

Speaker: Professor Alex Mills (Faculty of Laws, UCL)

Chair: Professor Campbell McLachlan QC (Victoria University Wellington)

Date and time: 06 February 2020, 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Location: Bentham House, UCL Laws, London, WC1H 0EG, United Kingdom


boundary between public and private legal relations at the
international level has become increasingly fluid. State actors engage
internationally in private commercial activity, while the privatisation
of traditional governmental functions has led to private actors
exercising ostensibly public authority, and accelerated the development
of a hybridised public-private international investment law.
Privatisation as a general phenomenon is much debated, although there
has been relatively little focus on the governmental functions which are
perhaps of most interest to lawyers – law making, law enforcement, and
dispute resolution. This lecture will argue that modern legal
developments in the context of private law and cross-border private
legal relations can be usefully analysed as two distinct forms of
privatisation. First, privatisation of the allocative functions of
public and private international law, in respect of both institutional
and substantive aspects of regulation. Second, privatisation of the
institutional and substantive regulation of private legal relationships
themselves, through arbitration and the recognition of non-state law.
Analysing these developments through the lens of privatisation
highlights a number of important critical questions which deserve
greater consideration.

About the Speaker

Alex Mills is Professor of Public and Private International Law in the Faculty of Laws, University College London. His research encompasses a range of foundational issues across public and private international law, as well as international investment law and commercial arbitration. He has degrees in Philosophy and Law from the University of Sydney, and an LLM and PhD (awarded the Yorke Prize) from the University of Cambridge, where he also taught before joining UCL. His publications include ‘Party Autonomy in Private International Law’ (CUP, 2018), ‘The Confluence of Public and Private International Law’ (CUP, 2009), and (co-authored) ‘Cheshire North and Fawcett’s Private International Law’ (OUP, 2017). He was awarded the American Society of International Law’s Private International Law Prize in 2010, has Directed Studies in Private International Law at the Hague Academy of International Law, and is a member of Blackstone Chambers Academic Advisory Panel and the Editorial Board of the International and Comparative Law Quarterly.

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