Washington Law Review


This article presents an analysis of choice of law methodologies in terms of their formal and nonformal characteristics. In Part I, formal and nonformal decisionmaking processes are defined, and their benefits and detriments are examined. In Part II, two concrete choice of law problems—the New York experience with host-guest statutes and the policy of validation in contractual and testamentary transactions—are studied to highlight the pitfalls of both formal and nonformal choice of law approaches. In Part III, the shift from formalism to nonformalism in choice of law methodology is analyzed from the perspective of a general theory of judicial shifts between major legal paradigms. Finally, Washington law is discussed in Part IV with suggestions for its development.

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