Ralf Michaels, ‘Private Lawyer in Disguise? On the Absence of Private Law and Private International Law in Martti Koskenniemi’s Work’

Introduction:
“Human rights are like love”, Koskenniemi suggests, “both necessary and impossible”. An eccentricity? Equations of law and love may seem like the stuff of poets, not legal theorists, let alone practitioners. And yet, Koskenniemi, the leading public international lawyer, finds among legal theorists an unlikely ally in his claim that law and love are interrelated. Ernest Weinrib, perhaps the leading North American theorist of private law, makes the same claim for private law that Koskenniemi makes for human rights: “private law is just like love”. Does that not mean, logically, that human rights are like private law? In one way, this parallel between two scholars is certainly a coincidence. It is hard to imagine that either Koskenniemi or Weinrib had the other in mind when they wrote about love. Indeed, it is hard to think, at first, of two authors more distant from each other …

Ralf Michaels, Private Lawyer in Disguise? On the Absence of Private Law and Private International Law in Martti Koskenniemi’s Work, 27 Temple International and Comparative Law Journal 499-521 (2013)

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