LLM Commercial Conflict of Laws

Module leader: Dr Jenny Papettas

Teaching and assessment (2017 - 18): Semester 2, 1 x 3 hour examination 

Module description:

Conflict of laws (also known as private international law) is concerned with the law relating to cross-border litigation. Conflict of laws issues arising in any private law subject when the facts have an international element. This option examines the three main elements of the conflict of laws:

The jurisdiction of English courts to hear disputes in international litigation. We consider in detail the European rules of jurisdiction in the Brussels I Regulation (which are common to all EU states), as well as the common law rules (which are similar to those in a number of common law countries around the world).

A private law subject concerned with what happens when a dispute has an international set of facts. It might be described as the law of international commercial litigation. It is often and alternatively referred to as private international law.

Outline of topics to be covered:

1. Jurisdiction: when can a dispute with international sets of facts be heard in an English court? European Regulation applies where the defendant is domiciled in Europe; otherwise we use common law rules. Should an English court be prepared to hear any case, no matter how tenuously connected with England

2. Choice of law: when we have an international dispute, we have to decide which country’s law or laws to apply if the case is heard in England. We look at the law-selecting rules in the two most important areas: contract and tort law disputes.

3. Recognition of foreign judgments: suppose that a US court had already ruled on the merits of a contract case and that the claimant wins damages, but the defendant holds his assets in England. To claim them, it is necessary that the English court recognises the effects of the foreign judgment. When will it do so? What if the judgment was given in a country where the defendant had no opportunity to defend himself or was decided on the basis of a repugnant law?