International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Winter 2015 Issue

Leading Figures in International Law


Pasquale Stanislao Mancini (Italy) (1817 - 1888)

Shabtai Rosenne

By: Maria Chhabria, Director of Academic Programs, International Judicial Academy

Pasquale Stanislao Mancini was a prominent lawyer, professor, journalist, statesman, and one of the greatest jurists of the nineteenth century. He is the founder of the Italian School of International law, and the author of the private international law theory based on the principle of nationality. He also played a central role in the process of unification of Italy, serving in various positions in the new government, and contributing to the reform of the Italian Civil Code adopted in 1865.

Professor Mancini was born in Castel Baronia, near Avellino, in the Campania Region, at the time part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He was the son of Count Francesco Saverio Mancini, a prominent lawyer and a descendant of a noble Italian family.  Mancini was initially home schooled and later earned a law degree from the University of Naples. He began his career in Naples as an editor and publisher of numerous newspapers and journals. After the publication of his correspondence on the right to punish with Terenzio Mamiani Della Rovere, Mancini gained fame in the legal community. While fighting for freedom and democracy through his writings and scripts, he was also elected as a deputy in the Neapolitan parliament. During the revolutionary movements in 1848, he was forced into exile by the restored Bourbon government. He moved to Turin where he accepted a chair of public and private international law at the University of Turin.

Mancini laid the foundations for the Italian School of International Law during his inaugural lecture at the University of Turin in 185, titled Citizenship as the Foundation of the Law of Peoples. He argued that the nationality principle is the basic rule of international law. Accordingly, the nation is the legitimate foundation of any independent State, and forms the legal entity in


the international community. This principle also applies to private international law. Every man preserves his rights as an individual outside his country of citizenship. The law of citizenship (lex patriae) is a basic principle of every conflict of laws system. The Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico inspired Mancini’s ideas. Mancini’s national theory influenced many scholars, and was incorporated in the Italian Civil Code of 1865, the German Civil Code of 1896, the Japanese Civil Code of 1898, and The Hague conventions on international private law. Many legal scholars were Mancini’s followers. Today, Mancini’s theories can be found in the Italian reform of private international law (1995), and in the European Union uniform rules of private international law.

After moving to Turin, Mancini served in various government positions before and after unification of the Italy. In 1860, he was elected to the parliament of Piedmont-Sardinia, and joined the council presiding over the Neapolitan territory in the south, newly annexed to the unified Italy by Giuseppe Garibaldi. In that capacity, he implemented important reforms suppressing religious orders, revoking the concordat with the papacy, and proclaiming the government’s right to the property once owned by the church. Subsequently, he returned to Turin, and sat in the first parliament of the newly unified Italy, and served briefly in the cabinet. In 1865, Mancini convinced the parliament to restrict capital punishments. Later, he served as minister of justice and as acting minister of public worship in 1878, when he personally advocated for a conclave of cardinals to elect a pope for the first time since Rome became a part of a united Italy. Briefly returning to private practice in 1878, he assisted Giuseppe Garibaldi in the annulment of his marriage.  In 1881, under Agostino Depretis’ cabinet, Mancini became minister of foreign affairs. In order to obtain support for the Italian colonial expansion in Africa, he led Italy to join the Triple Alliance with Austria,-Hungary, and Germany in 1882. Mancini resigned from his position in June 1885 and died three years later.

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© 2015 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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