Retour sur la comity: Première partie: Les origines de la comity au carrefour du droit international privé et du droit international public

David Holloway, Thomas Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a series of two articles, to be published in the present and the next issue of the Clunet, the authors provide an account of the emergence and development of comity in the history of private international law, discussing where comity came from, how it developed and what purposes it was initially meant to fulfil. The purpose of such recalling of comity is to provide a historical background and conceptual starting point for the increasing current attempts to rely again on the comity doctrine in court decisions and private and public international law scholarship. In the current article, we review the forces that led to strict territoriality in the 17th century and how comity became needed to mitigate it. We will see how regulatory overlaps contributed to making the Thirty Years War inevitable and will discuss the subsequent efforts to do away with such regulatory overlaps through territorial sovereignty, whose radicalism made comity necessary to accommodate the transnationalism of commerce and societies. In the second article, we will present the early history of the concept of comity in the context of the history of private international law generally. We will focus on the evolution of the use of comity through the great stages of its history. We will thus embark on a voyage from Rome and the ius gentium, to Perugia with Bartolus de Saxoferrato, to Holland and the Voets, to Berlin and Prussia with Savigny, to the United States with Joseph Story, and to the UK with Mansfield, Westlake and Dicey.

Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)863-86
Number of pages24
JournalJournal du droit international
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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