Traditional choice of law theory conceives of certainty and flexibility as opposed values: increase one, and you inevitably decrease the other. This article challenges the received wisdom by reconceptualizing the distinction. Rather than caring about certainty or flexibility for their own sake, it suggests, we care about them because each makes it easier to promote a certain cluster of values. And while there may be a necessary tradeoff between certainty and flexibility, there is no necessary tradeoff between the clusters of values. It is possible to improve a choice of law system with regard to both of them. The article demonstrates how this has happened in the history of choice of law and how it can be accomplished in the future.

Roosevelt, Kermit, Certainty vs. Flexibility in the Conflict of Laws (December 12, 2018). In The Continuing Relevance of Private International Law and Its Challenges (F. Ferrari & D. Fernandez Arroyo eds., Elgar, Forthcoming 2019).; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 18-40. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301554

Kermit Roosevelt, III

Reporter, Conflict of Laws

Kermit Roosevelt is Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He works in a diverse range of fields, focusing on constitutional law and conflict of laws. His latest academic book, Conflict of Laws (Foundation Press 2010) offers an accessible analytical overview of conflicts. He also is the author of two novels, Allegiance (Regan Arts, 2015) and In the Shadow of the Law (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005).