Private International Law as Global Governance (PILAGG)

Beyond the Schism, from Closet to Planet

PILAGG is a Research Program which aims to draw the attention about the role that private international law should play in current times in order to contribute to global governance.

Despite the contemporary turn to law within the global governance debate, private international law remains remarkably silent before the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and power in the world. By leaving such matters to its public international counterpart, it leaves largely untended the private causes of crisis and injustice affecting such areas as financial markets, levels of environmental pollution, the status of sovereign debt, the confiscation of natural resources, the use and misuse of development aid, the plight of migrating populations, and many more. This incapacity to rise to the private challenges of economic globalisation is all the more curious that public international law itself, on the tide of managerialism and fragmentation, is now increasingly confronted with conflicts articulated as collisions of jurisdiction and applicable law, among which private or hybrid authorities and regimes now occupy a significant place.

The explanation seems to lie in the development, under the aegis of the liberal separation of law and politics and of the public and the private spheres, of an « epistemology of the closet », a refusal to see that to unleash powerful private interests in the name of individual autonomy and to allow them to accede to market authority was to construct the legal foundations of informal empire and establish gaping holes in global governance. It is now more than time to de-closet private international law and excavate the means with which, in its own right, it may impact on the balance of informal power in the global economy. Adopting a planetary perspective means reaching beyond the schism and connecting up with the politics of public international law, while contributing a specific savoir-faire acquired over many centuries in the recognition of alterity and the responsible management of pluralism.

Firstly presented at the 2011 IGLP Workshop (Harvard Law School), PILAGG organised many workshops and roundtables at Sciences po and abroad to enhance the research on private international law as global governance.

More about the project at

You might also be interested in the report of last event that PILAGG organised in 2011/2012 at Sciences Po, with the support of the Sciences Po Law School and LIEPP on the 11th of May: CR-PILAGG-Final-Meeting1.pdf

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