As we find ourselves at the time of this writing in early 2021 in the midst of tumultuous debate about the virtues of globalization versus localization, it behooves us to consider the link to international arbitration. In doing so, we have the opportunity and pleasure to consider George Bermann’s significant contributions to exploring this link. In particular, we have the chance to ask whether and how a comparativist approach to the law benefits international dispute resolution, and George Bermann’s contribution to that question. His is a major contribution indeed.
I first benefitted from George Bermann’s infectious appetite for a comparativist approach to obligations law and civil procedure when I was his law school student. It was almost four decades ago. Having just returned to the US from two years of graduate study in Munich, I was immediately attracted to his lecture course – at that time a highly unusual and provocative offering – on comparative law with a focus on France and Germany. His youthful curiosity for French and German contract and tort law concepts and his expertise in comparing them with American approaches were eye-opening. They significantly enhanced my ability to understand these American approaches and to put them in their proper context historically, economically and philosophically. This was toward the beginning of George’s teaching and writing career, as “European Community law” was coming into its own and George was ramping up for several further decades of making important contributions to comparative law scholarship.