Conflict of Laws

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Jacobus Bomhoff NAB6.29


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.


A good knowledge of law is required.

Course content

Conflict of laws - also know as private international law - is the area of law concerned with cases in which the facts present one or more international element. The field's central technical questions are (1) jurisdiction (will an English court or a foreign court hear a case?), (2) choice of law (should the court apply its own law or that of a foreign country?), (3) the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements, During the course, these three questions will frame reflection on a range of topics, including commercial/practical issues (how can companies structure their cross-border transactions), but also questions of a more political nature (to what extent should States be able to regulate matters beyond their own borders?) or with a strong social/cultural dimension (how should foreign cultural understandings be accommodated in domestic law?). Because of the growing role of the European Union in this area, the interaction between English and European approaches to conflict of laws issues will be an important running theme throughout the course. (1) jurisdiction in international commercial litigation under the traditional English rules and in European law, (2) recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements under European rules and at common law, (3) complex litigation, (4) choice of law in contract and tort, (5) public policy, mandatory rules and exclusion of foreign law, (6) comparative aspects and theoretical foundations of the conflict of laws.

- Jurisdiction of English courts under the traditional rules - actions in personam (service of a claim form within the jurisdiction  & out of jurisdiction), choice of court clauses, stay of proceedings, restraining foreign proceedings (anti-suit injunctions).
- Jurisdiction of English courts under European Union Council Regulation 44/2001.
- Recognition & enforcement of foreign judgements at common law and under European rules.
- Choice of law relating to contracts under the Rome I Regulation – interpreting choice of law clauses in contracts, applicable law in absence of choice, mandatory rules, public policy, formal validity, capacity, illegality.
- Choice of law relating to tort – double actionability, Rome II Regulation, ‘interest analysis’
- Comparative conflict of laws & Theoretical foundations


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

In addition to the Course Reader provided on Moodle, the following texts may serve as sources of reference throughout the course: Jonathan Hill & Adeline Chong, International Commercial Disputes (4th ed, 2010); Trevor Hartley, International Commercial Litigation (2009); Peter North & James Fawcett, Cheshire & North's Private International Law (14th ed, summer 2008); Adrian Briggs, The Conflict of Laws (2008).Collins et al., Dicey and Morris on the conflict of laws (2 vols.) (15th ed., 2012) (Definitely not a textbook, but the standard authoritative reference in conflict of laws).

Resources: www.conflictoflaws.net (Topical references, cases and reviews).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills