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UOL Private International Law

Private International Law, also known as Conflict of Laws, deals with legal rules and principles that determine how the law of various jurisdictions applies to cross-border situations involving private individuals and entities. This module is designed to equip students with a deep understanding of these principles, enabling them to navigate and resolve legal challenges that transcend national boundaries.


This introductory section introduces the scope, significance, and foundational concepts of Private International Law. It outlines the challenges of dealing with disputes that have connections with more than one jurisdiction, such as determining which country's law applies, which country's courts have jurisdiction, and how a judgment from one country might be recognised and enforced in another.


Characterisation involves classifying a legal issue under the appropriate legal category to determine which legal system's rules should apply. This process is crucial in Private International Law for identifying the applicable law by categorising the issues at hand (e.g., contractual, tortious, familial) according to the legal system's own concepts and definitions.

Exclusion of Foreign Law

This topic discusses the circumstances under which a court may refuse to apply foreign law, even if it is the applicable law according to Private International Law principles. Reasons for exclusion can include public policy exceptions (ordre public), where applying the foreign law would be contrary to the forum's fundamental principles, or practical issues like the unavailability of information about the foreign law.

Domicile and Residence

Domicile and residence are key concepts used to establish a person's legal ties to a jurisdiction, which can affect jurisdictional and applicable law determinations. This section explores how different jurisdictions define domicile and residence and their significance in areas such as jurisdiction, choice of law, and recognition of judgments.


This section examines the criteria and principles that determine whether a court has the authority to hear a case involving foreign elements. It covers the bases for jurisdiction, including the defendant's domicile, the place where a contract was executed or a tort occurred, and agreements on jurisdiction, as well as the concept of forum non conveniens.

Brussels Regime

The Brussels Regime, applicable within the EU, includes rules on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. This topic explores the key regulations and conventions that make up the Brussels Regime, such as the Brussels I Regulation (recast), focusing on their application and impact on cross-border legal proceedings within the EU.

Stays and Restraint

This area discusses the mechanisms courts use to manage cases that are connected to proceedings in other jurisdictions, including staying a proceeding (temporarily halting the case) or issuing anti-suit injunctions (orders restraining parties from pursuing litigation in foreign courts) to avoid conflicting judgments and ensure efficient resolution of disputes.

Foreign Judgments

The recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are central to Private International Law, ensuring that decisions made in one jurisdiction can have legal effect in another. This section covers the principles, conditions, and processes for recognising and enforcing foreign judgments across different jurisdictions.


This topic delves into the rules determining which jurisdiction's law applies to international contracts, including contractual obligations, performance, and breach. It discusses choice of law clauses, where parties specify the applicable law, and the default rules that apply in the absence of such a choice.

Torts and Restitution

This section focuses on cross-border disputes arising from wrongful acts (torts) and the recovery of unjust enrichment (restitution). It covers the principles for determining the applicable law, including the place of the tort (lex loci delicti) and the concept of the closest connection.


Property law in a cross-border context involves rules on the jurisdiction and applicable law for disputes over both movable and immovable property. This section explores how different legal systems determine the governing law for property transactions and disputes, often based on the property's location (lex situs).

Succession and Trusts

This section examines the laws applicable to cross-border issues of inheritance and trusts, including jurisdiction, the recognition of foreign wills and trusts, and the applicable law for succession and the administration of estates.


Marriage in the context of Private International Law involves questions about the capacity to marry, the formal requirements for marriage, and the recognition of foreign marriages. This topic covers the various legal systems' approaches to these issues, including the applicable law and jurisdictional considerations.

Matrimonial Causes

This final topic addresses the resolution of matrimonial disputes, including divorce, annulment, and legal separation, in a cross-border context. It explores the jurisdictional issues, applicable law, and the recognition of foreign matrimonial judgments, focusing on the challenges of dealing with different legal systems and their approaches to matrimonial causes.

This module not only enhances one's legal acumen but also fosters a greater appreciation for the nuances of international legal practice. As the world becomes increasingly globalised, the knowledge and skills acquired in this module will be invaluable for future legal practitioners, enabling them to contribute effectively to the resolution of international disputes and the advancement of global justice.

Check out our exam-focused Private International Law notes now.

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