International Law, Private

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

International Law, Private


the totality of norms governing civil law relationships (property and related nonproperty relationships, family law, and labor and procedural relationships) that are international in nature. In these legal relationships either foreigners, foreign legal persons, or foreign states are involved, or the object of the law is located abroad. The norms of private international law primarily regulate relationships that arise in the course of international economic and scientific-technical cooperation. The application of these norms by the Soviet state plays a significant part in implementing the principles of peaceful coexistence, the basis of USSR foreign policy.

The term “private international law” is arbitrary. The field of private international law includes relevant questions of the civil law status of foreigners, foreign legal persons, and mixed companies; the law of ownership; the law of obligations, including foreign trade transactions, agreements to render technical assistance and conduct scientific research, contracts for maritime, rail, motor-vehicle, and air shipping, and credit relationships; copyright and the law of invention; and family and inheritance law. It also includes such civil procedural questions as procedural law for foreigners, the procedural status of a foreign state, court commissions, execution of foreign court decisions, and foreign trade and maritime arbitration. The norms of private international law either contain a direct rule establishing specific rights and obligations (norms of direct regulation), or they indicate which laws should be applied to the particular relationship, that is, they contain references to the law of a particular state (conflict of norms). Because the conflict of norms plays an important part in private international law, it is sometimes called the conflict of laws.

Private international law is related to public international law. A number of the norms of private international law are derived from the general principles of public international law. For example, the norm that a state is not subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of another state without its direct consent follows directly from the guiding principle of international law concerning the sovereign equality of states. There are two sources of private international law: some norms of private international law are contained in the domestic laws of states, and others are found in international treaties and in certain international customs. However, in contrast to public international law, citizens and legal persons as well as states may be the subjects of private international law.

In the USSR the most important norms of private international law are contained in legislation on the state monopoly of the country’s foreign trade, in the Principles of Civil Legislation and of Marriage and Family Law of the USSR and the Union Republics, in the Principles of Civil Procedure of the USSR and the Union Republics, in the Merchant Shipping Code and the Air Code of the USSR, and in the Statute on Discoveries, Inventions, and Efficiency Proposals.

In the relations between the USSR and the other socialist countries pertaining to private international law the basic norms are those of international agreements, including treaties concerning legal assistance in civil, family, and criminal cases; consular conventions; and agreements on social security. In economic cooperation between the USSR and the other socialist countries the basic norms are those of treaties on trade and shipping, trade agreements, the 1968 General Conditions for the Delivery of Goods Within COMECON, and the 1951 Agreement on International Shipping. The norms of private international law applied by the USSR are also contained in bilateral and multilateral international treaties with both socialist and capitalist countries, notably the 1883 Paris Convention to Protect Industrial Property, the 1952 Universal Copyright Convention, and the 1954 Hague Convention on Civil Procedure.

The basic function of the norms of private international law employed by the USSR in its relations with the capitalist countries is to give legal form to mutually advantageous economic, trade, scientific-technical, and cultural links. In the USSR’s relations with the developing countries, the norms of private international law that regulate technical assistance in building industrial enterprises and other structures in these countries and aid in training national specialists have become especially important.

Many of the norms of private international law govern cooperation and mutual assistance among the countries of the socialist community. In relations between the socialist countries the norms of private international law are intended to facilitate the implementation of a comprehensive program of socialist economic integration and the development of specialization and collaboration in production, trade relations, and scientific-technical cooperation based on the principles of socialist internationalism. The norms are also designed to promote the correct combination of the socialist countries’ national and international tasks, with consistent observance of the principles of equality and sovereignty, mutual advantage, and comradely mutual assistance. Economic, scientific, and technical cooperation is facilitated by the use of contracts, by establishing responsibility for the performance of obligations, by developing legal forms of direct ties between ministries, government departments, enterprises, and institutions in the socialist countries, and by working out norms governing the status of international economic associations and joint enterprises.


Lunts, L. A. Mezhdunarodnoe chastnoe pravo. Moscow, 1970.
Pereterskii, I. S., and S. B. Krylov. Mezhdunarodnoe chastnoe pravo. Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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