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Working paper

The Founders Of 16th Century Belgian Realism in Private International Law Doctrine

This article restores to academic circulation the names of representatives of the 16th century Belgian School of Realism, who have been unjustly forgotten in modern Private International Law [PIL] doctrine—Nicolas Everhard, Pieter Peck and Johannes à Sande. These scholars are the founders of the Belgian-Dutch theory of conflicts of laws which anticipated the classic Dutch “comity” doctrine and provided the framework for the Anglo-American doctrine of the regulation of international civil relations. The theory of Belgian realism was first outlined by Everhard, Peck and Sande and was formed on the theory of statutes—the sole doctrine of PIL for 500 years. Belgian Realism is a separate direction in the theory of statutes which triggered the process of a strongly territorial concept of conflict resolution between choice of law rules of different states. However, despite their outstanding contribution to the legal practice and doctrine of their time, these scholars are not known to modern jurisprudence. The article concludes that Everhard, Peck and Sande developed the choice of law rules which are now adopted by modern legislation; moreover, their works may serve to develop international comity doctrine, which has been adopted by modern PIL.