Course Code : LAW 312

Course Title : Private International Law (Conflict of Laws)

Weekly Teaching Hour: 3-hours lecture per week, 1 (1-hour) tutorial every week

Who may enrol : Compulsory course for year 3 (Junior) students

Prerequisites : Previously studied and passed a Laws course

Lecturer : To be announced on August 2020

Description : Knowledge of the Private International Law (also known as Conflict of Laws) is essential for any lawyer who aspires to work in any area of practice that transcends national frontiers, whether as a specialist in dispute resolution or in advisory work.

London is one of the leading centres for international commercial dispute resolution, and most of the commercial disputes heard in London involve foreign parties, so Conflict of Laws rules are particularly central to the work of the English commercial courts.

It is a fascinating area of the law, and one of enormous practical importance as legal relationships and disputes increasingly cross borders, but also one of the most intellectually demanding.

You will deal principally with three separate questions which may arise in cross-border civil and commercial litigation:

  • jurisdiction, the question of which court may hear a dispute;
  • applicable law, the question of which law or laws a court will apply to resolve the dispute;
  • recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

The focus of this course is on the rules and principles which apply to resolve these questions as they arise in civil and commercial disputes with an international element before the English courts. You will also examine the anti-suit injunction, which is one of the key orders which the English courts may make to protect their jurisdiction.

The following are some examples of Conflict of Laws problems that are drawn from a selection of the leading cases that you will cover in this course:

  • Can workers suffering from exposure to asbestos in a mine in South Africa bring their personal injury claims before an English court against an English company that held shares in the South African company that operated the mines?
  • Can an English bank that is facing anti-trust proceedings in the United States obtain an injunction from an English court to restrain the party bringing the proceedings in circumstances where the bank never had a corporate presence in the United States and the transactions at the centre of the anti-trust proceedings were executed in England and governed by English law?
  • A Maltese resident suffers personal injuries in a motor accident in Malta. The accident was caused by the negligence of an English resident on vacation in Malta. Under Maltese law, an accident victim cannot claim damages for pain and suffering, whereas under English law a victim can. The Maltese resident sues the English resident in an English court. Can the Maltese resident claim damages for pain and suffering?
  • Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, civil aircraft belonging to Kuwait Airways were seized and removed to Iraq. Iraqi legislation was then passed to transfer the aircraft to Iraqi Airways. Kuwait Airways brings proceedings against Iraqi Airways before an English court for wrongful interference. In determining the owner of the aircraft, should the English court give effect to the Iraqi legislation insofar as the aircraft was situated in Iraq when the legislation was enacted?

Recommended Textbook (s) and Supplementary Books :

  1. Cheshire, North & Fawcett: Private International Law, 15 edition , by Uglješa Grušić (Author), Christian Heinze (Author), Louise Merrett (Author), Alex Mills  (Author), & 6 more, OUP Oxford; ISBN-10: 0199678995, ISBN-13: 978-0199678990
  2. Private International Law in English Courts 1st Edition, Kindle Edition, by Adrian Briggs  (Author), OUP Oxford; ASIN: B00QQPPXP0
  3. The Conflict of Laws ,4th Edition, Kindle Edition, by Adrian Briggs  (Author), OUP Oxford; ASIN: B07Z88835N
  4. Clarkson & Hill’s Conflict of Laws 5th Edition, Kindle Edition by Jonathan Hill (Author), Máire Ní Shúilleabháin (Author), OUP Oxford; ASIN: B01M4IUXE7
  5. Reading lists and other materials will be provided for students registered on the course via online by lecturer.

Course Assessment:

  • Class Participation 10%,

  • Mid-term Examination 30%,

  • Assignments 10%, 2 x formative essays

  • Final Examination 50%, 100% Unseen 3-hour written examination

Attendance 95 % compulsory.