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Title: Regulating the internet through private international law
Author: Lutzi, Tobias
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 955X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis discusses how private international law can effectively address challenges raised by the internet for different areas of private law, linking this question to the broader debate about the potential of private international law to resolve conflicts of regulatory authority in a globalised world. The thesis identifies two core challenges of the internet: its independence from state borders, which drastically increases the number of connections to different countries in internet cases but reduces their usefulness; and the prevalence of private ordering, especially on online platforms that are effectively regulated only by their hosts. Using EU private international law as an example, it argues that existing approaches to internet cases are often dominated by a deep-rooted fear of leaving claimants underprotected from the perceived dangers of an unregulated internet; thus, instead of reducing the overwhelming number of connections created by internet communication to few, particularly useful ones that allow to effectively allocate adjudicatory and prescriptive jurisdiction, they attach significance to all of them, allowing claimants to chose from a large of number of fora and applicable laws. This creates complex mosaics of jurisdiction and problematic overlaps of national laws, exposing defendants to a risk of worldwide liability. This thesis proposes an alternative approach that arguably creates a better balance between the parties' interests and expectations, combining a country-of-origin default rule with a targeting-based exception for consumer cases. It shows how such an approach could be implemented within the existing framework of EU private international law but would be difficult to extend beyond the relatively harmonised internal market of the EU. It argues that this approach would not only better exploit the potential of private international law for the horizontal coordination between national courts and legal systems but could also facilitate the vertical coordination between public regulators and private parties. It thus provides an example for how private international law can accommodate new challenges without abandoning its commitment to 'conflicts' justice and substantive neutrality.
Supervisor: Dickinson, Andrew Sponsor: Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst ; Law Faculty ; University of Oxford ; Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Private International Law ; Conflict of Laws ; Internet Law ; EU Law