Skip to main content

Private International Law (Senior Status)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Kumari Lane
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay (100%)

Module description

Private international law (or conflict of laws, as it is alternatively known) deals with the problems that can be faced by a court when considering a case which has a foreign element. This subject is of increasing importance in the context of the processes of economic globalisation.

When Betty from Barbados and Iqpal from Exeter make a contract in London, or are involved in an accident caused by negligence in Venezuela, any litigation arising from their behaviour will involve the application of private international law. If Betty and Iqpal ask you for advice after you have completed this module, you should be able to answer the following questions for them:

  • Which courts can hear their case?
  • Which national law will the court apply to the case?
  • Where, and to what extent, can they rely upon and enforce the judgement in their case?
  • What are the practical implications of these answers for Betty and Iqpal?
  • Private international law rules differ between nation states. This module will concentrate on those used in England.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Domicile and other personal connecting factors
  • Renvoi and the exclusion of foreign law
  • Establishing jurisdiction under the common law and the Brussels regime
  • Staying and restraining proceedings
  • Forum shopping, forum non conveniens and globalisation
  • Foreign judgments under the common law and the Brussels regime
  • Choice of law in contracts
  • Choice of law in torts

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key legal concepts in private international law
  • be able to give an accurate statement of the key rules of private international law on jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments
  • be aware of the problems and tensions underlying the conflict of laws.