Adrian Briggs, University of Oxford Faculty of Law and Peter Rees, QC, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP have published the Preface to the fifth edition of their leading conflict of laws text: CIVIL JURISDICTION AND JUDGMENTS, 5th Ed., Informa, London 2009/Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07/2010 (available on SSRN). Here is the abstract:
It feels like a long time since the first, and really rather petite, edition of this book was put together; and even longer since the original idea was born. The original aspirations were two-fold. One was to try to make sense of jurisdictional law for lawyers in England, who were increasingly finding that they had to look outside the common law and beyond the seas for an answer to the question whether an English court had jurisdiction. The other was to make a statement of English jurisdictional law which might be helpful to outsiders looking in. Four editions later, it is time to admit that ballooning nature of the former task has quite overwhelmed the latter. The amounts of time and memory needed to keep up with, never mind get ahead of, the law on civil jurisdiction and judgments, is amazing. One may wonder whether it really does take several hundred thousand words to try and answer the question whether or when A may sue B in an English court. If present experience is anything to go by, the startling answer is that it does; and even that was achieved only by defining the material scope of the text as excluding family law, which may be justified, and insolvency, which some may think may not. But one does what one can, and not what two cannot.