Conflict of Laws

Conflict of laws, or private international law, or international private law is that branch of international law and interstate law that regulates all lawsuits involving a “foreign” law element, where a difference in result will occur depending on which laws are applied as the lex causae. Firstly, it is concerned with determining whether the proposed forum has jurisdiction to adjudicate and is the appropriate venue for dealing with the dispute, and, secondly, with determining which of the competing state’s laws are to be applied to resolve the dispute. It also deals with the enforcement of foreign judgments.

Its three different names are generally interchangeable, although none of them is wholly accurate or properly descriptive. Within local federal systems where inter-state legal conflicts require resolution, (such as in the United States), the term “Conflict of Laws” is preferred simply because such cases are not an international issue. Hence the term “Conflict of Laws” is a more general term for a legal process for resolving similar disputes, regardless if the relevant legal systems are international or inter-state, though this term is also criticised as being misleading in that the object is the resolution of conflicts between competing systems rather than “conflict” itself.