European Review of Private Law

Volume 26 (2018)

Volume 26 (2018) / Issue 3

Thomas Schultz, Jason Mitchenson, 'Rediscovering the Principle of Comity in English Private International Law' (2018) 26 European Review of Private Law, Issue 3, pp. 311–340

comity, English law, private international law, statutory interpretation, interpretation of international treaties, adjudication on laws and acts of foreign states, exercise of judicial powers affecting foreign judicial processes, recognition of foreign judgments, judicial cooperation, requests for pre-trial discovery, assistance in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings.


Abstract: Academically speaking, comity is all but dead. Cold-shouldered by the literature, the principle has become known as little more than a useless relic of the past. But a review of the case law tells a very different story. Comity thrives in the judicial decisions of English courts, which suggests that, in particular areas of law, comity is alive and well. In light of the disjunct between the literature and judicial practice, this article seeks to shed new light on the role of comity in English private international law. Ultimately, it seeks to unbridle comity’s legal potential and reposition it as an important principle of English private international law worthy of further academic research.

Résumé: Académiquement, le principe de la comity, ou courtoisie internationale, est presque morte. Ignoré par la doctrine, le principe est essentiellement perçu comme une relique inutile du passé. Mais si l’on porte un regard attentif à la jurisprudence, une histoire très différente émerge. La comity prospère dans les décisions des tribunaux anglais: à tout le moins dans des domaines particuliers du droit, la comity est résolument en vie. Partant de ce contraste entre doctrine et pratique judiciaire, les auteurs cherchent à apporter un nouvel éclairage sur le rôle de la comity dans le droit international privé anglais. A partir de là, il semble possible de débrider le potentiel juridique de la comity, en le repositionnant comme un principe important du droit international privé anglais méritant une attention soutenue de la doctrine.

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ISSN: 0928-9801
ID: ERPL2018025