Out Now: The Common Law Jurisprudence of the Conflict of Laws


Few books can get you from the rainy coast of Newfoundland over 19th-century Holstein straight to sunny Queensland and back to the North of Pennsylvania, while telling stories of a retired MI5 agent, the largest Ponzi scheme in history, a company founded by the 41st President of the United States, the aftermath of the First Gulf War, and the collapse of the Federal Bank of Australia. The volume on The Common Law Jurisprudence of the Conflict of Laws, edited by Sarah McKibbin (University of Southern Queensland) and Anthony Kennedy (Serle Court), recently published by Hart, does just that, by discussing cases like Vita Food Products, Brook v Brook, Bonython v Commonwealth of Australia, AG v Heinemann Publishers (better known as the Australian Spycatcher case), Bremen v Zapata, Vizcaya v Picard, and Kuwait Airways (Nos 4 and 5).


Overall, the volume contains detailed accounts of 12 cases from 7 jurisdictions, providing context, summary, and critical commentary. The selected cases touch upon virtually all areas of private international law, from international jurisdiction over applicable law to recognition of foreign judgments. In addition to the high quality of the individual accounts, what makes this volume particularly intriguing is the authors’ focus on how the cases discussed have contributed to the development of the common law in the respective areas of private international law. As Andrew Bell writes in the foreword: ‘a fascinating depiction of parallel yet interdependent legal systems, at times moving in synchronicity and at other times starkly diverging, but all appealing to the same shared conceptual foundations of private international law norms.’

Consequently, the book is at the same time an insightful study of the incremental (and sometimes not so incremental) development of the common law, a rich collection of some of the most impactful and interesting decisions in the field of private international law, and a fantastic read for a day at the beach.