Conflict of Laws

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jacobus Bomhoff NAB6.09


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. The majority of students taking this course tend to be in their third year. That said, many second year students have done very well on this course over the past years.

Course content

Conflict of laws - also known as private international law - is the area of law concerned with cases in which the facts present one or more international elements. The field's three main 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 (e.g. how can companies structure their cross-border transactions), but also questions of a more political nature (e.g. to what extent should States be able to regulate matters beyond their own borders?) or with a strong social/cultural dimension (e.g. how should foreign cultural understandings of justice 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.


  • Jurisdiction: Brussels I Regulation 2012; English traditional rules; Comparative case studies (US and Canadian law); Choice of court agreements; Anti-suit injunctions.
  • Choice of law: Contract and Tort (Rome I and Rome II Regulations); Comparative case studies; Public policy; Foreign illegality; Overriding mandatory rules.
  • Foreign judgments: Brussels I Regulation 2012; English traditional rules; Comparative case studies.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be reading weeks in Week 6 of MT and Week 6 of LT.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

Students will be provided with a Course Reader, which is posted on Moodle in instalments throughout the year. The following texts may serve as sources of reference throughout the course: Jonathan Hill & Adeline Chong, International Commercial Disputes (Hart Publishing); Trevor Hartley, International Commercial Litigation (CUP); Peter North & James Fawcett, Cheshire & North's Private International Law (OUP); Adrian Briggs, The Conflict of Laws (OUP). Always make sure you have the most recent edition.

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 2016/17: 37

Average class size 2016/17: 20

Capped 2016/17: Yes (40)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills