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CONFLICT OF LAWS NOTES

By: Evelyn De Matias

PRINCIPLES AND DOCTRINES


Extraterritoriality
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a.
b.
c.
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

General rule: Philippine laws have no extraterritorial effects in another country.


Reason: One sovereign country is independent of another.
Exceptions:
When our law provides respect to other countries with respect to its citizens and nationals
When our country enters into a treaty with another country.
Congressional legislations adopting foreign law to municipal law of the land.
Extraterritorial application of a foreign law allowed when the country gives consent (implied or
expressed).
Exception: When the foreign law is against public policy and order.

Foreign Elements
consist of the following as subject matter:
nationality or citizenship
personal status
property
points of contacts include:
place of contracting
place of negotiation of contract
place of performance
location of subject matter of the contract
domicile, residence, place of incorporation, nationality and place of business of parties.
If the place of negotiating the contract and the place of performance are in the same state, the
local law of this state shall apply.

Renvoi

the court in resorting foreign law adopts rules of foreign country as to conflict of law which rule
may refer back to the law of the forum. (Aznar vs Garcia, 7 SCRA 95)
Borrowing Doctrine
- Philippines may adopt foreign procedural law under the Borrowing Statute such as
Sec. 48 of the Civil Procedure Rule stating if by the laws of the State or country where the
cause of action arose the action is barred, it is also barred in the Philippines. (CADALIN vs
POEA ADMINISTRATOR, 238 SCRA 721)

Doctrine Processual Presumption


- foreign law must be properly pleaded and proved as a fact. If not pleaded, the court will
presume that the foreign law is the same as our local or domestic or internal law. (BANK OF
AMERICA vs AMERICAN REALTY CO., 321 SCRA 659)
- In a conflict between a Philippine law and a foreign law, Philippine law prevails
-

General Rule: foreign documents, before they can be admitted as evidence in Philippine
courts, must be duly authenticated.

Written laws may be evidenced by an official publication or a copy attested by an officer


with the legal custody of the record or his deputy. (Secretary of an embassy, consul general,
consul, vice consul, consular agent or officer of a foreign service of the Philippinesstationed in a
foreign country in which the record is kept and authenticated by the seal of his office). As
provided for by Sections 24 & 25 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.

Exception to the Rule: a foreign law may be proved in open court by the testimony of an
active law practitioner familiar with the foreign law and quoting the specific foreign law
involved. (Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. vs Guerrero).

Rules of authentication as provided in Sections 24 & 25 of Rule 132 DO NOT


APPLY IN ADMINISTRATIVEPROCEEDINGS IN ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS.

Rules on ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE may be availed of in the presentation of evidence in


conflicts of law.

Law of Significant Relationship aka Center of Gravity Doctrine aka Grouping of


Contacts
- choice of law problems in conflicts of law are resolved by application of law of the
jurisdiction which has the most significant relationship or contact with the events and parties to
the litigation and issues.
Kilberg Doctrine
-

When the rule involves PROCEDURAL, the law of the forum is not bound by the country
where the place of injury or wrongful act arose.
If the action is filed in Philippine court, the court will adopt its own Rules on Procedure.

Doctrine of Characterization or Doctrine of Qualification


-

court determines the character of the action filed in court in order to determine which law
would be applicable (choice of law to apply) when trying the case.
Analysis of the factual situation, event or operative fact to determine the POINT OF
CONTACT or CONNECTING FACTOR (such as situs of the res, place of celebration,
place of performance, and place of delict or wrong doing.
PRINCIPLES ON PERSONAL LAW IN CONFLICTS OF LAWS:

1. Domiciliary Rule

law of the domicile of the person is the determining factor

2. Nationality Rule

the law of the nationality and citizenship of the person determines his personal law.
What the Philippine follows

Two Remedies in Conflicts of Law:

1. Enforcement of rights that accrued in a foreign country, completely or partly, in the form
of actions filed in the Philippines by the aggrieved party;
2. Recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment in the form of petition or complaint
to enforce such foreign judgment in the Phil. courts.

Source of Conflict of Laws:


1. Primary Sources
- Constitution
- Rules and regulations by administrative tribunals
- Statutes
- Judicial ruling by the Supreme Court
2. Secondary Sources (merely persuasive in effect)
- Decisions of foreign courts
- Treatises
- Commentaries and studies of well-known authors
When case involves no foreign element but involves local laws with conflicting
applicability, court will resolve by:

1. Reconcile the local laws involved


2. If cannot be reconciled, consider the most recent statute to have repealed the older one.
3. Except one law from the operation of the other and from the basis thereof decide the
case.

* When interpreting the application of law in such case, there is always the presumption that the
laws are enacted to bring justice and equity therefore the court must decide to this effect.

3 Ways to Deal with Conflict of Laws cases:

1. Court may deny due to the following grounds: lack of jurisdiction or invoke FORUM
NON CONVENIENCE (it is more convenient to try a case in a different forum).
2. Hear the case and apply the local law. (exercise of states sovereign prerogatives)
3. Hear the case and apply special rules to promote international system to do justice to the
parties. (hear the case and apply foreign law).

REAL PROPERTY
real property and personal property is subject to the law of the country it is situated.

INTESTATE AND TESTAMENTARY SUCCESSION


regulated by the nationality of a person whose succession is in consideration.

CONTRACTS
the law of the place of execution of contract, wills and other public documents that governs its
forms and solemnities is applied.
CORPORATIONS
- governs by the law of the country where the corporation is created or incorporated.

Contractual Agreement of parties as to venue


-

Agreement of parties as to venue of litigation in the contract is merely permissive UNLESS it is


clearly stipulated in the agreement that the chosen venue is EXCLUSIVE using qualifying or
restricting words to the exclusion of other venue other than the one agreed. (HSBC v Sheman,
176 SCRA 331).
Rationale: parties cannot stipulate the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter because
it is fixed by law or the Constitution.

Applicable foreign law to resolve conflicts of laws in the absence of a local law
directing the court to apply a foreign law or in the absence of a valid agreement
between parties on what rule to govern in case of dispute:
1. Substance vs Procedural Principle

General rule: All procedural rules shall follow the law of the forum where the case is
filed. Substantive laws shall be governed by the law of the country where the cause of action
arose.
2. Center of Gravity Doctrine

apply the Most Significant Relationship Theory (law of the state which has the most
significant relationship with the occurrence and with the parties determines their rights and
liabilities in tort or in contract); or
Grouping of Contacts Principles (for torts and contracts) as applied in Saudi Arabian
Airlines (SAUDIA) v CA 297 SCRA 469.
What are taken into account:
a. place where the injury occurred
b. place where the conduct causing the injury occurred
c. domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation, place of business of
parties
d. place where the relationship if any between parties is centered

3. Renvoi
-

the court in resorting foreign law adopts rules of foreign country as to conflict of law which rule
may refer back to the law of the forum. (Aznar vs Garcia, 7 SCRA 95)
4. Lex Fori
- the law of the forum or the court
- Lex loci law of jurisdiction in which relief is sought to control to all matters that are
remedial or procedural.
- German Rule of elective occurrence the place of tort is whenever an essential
part of the tort has been committed and the injured person may choose to sue in either of the
places which to him is the most advantageous to his claim.

- Cavers Principle court applies general principles to arrive at a just solution by


accommodating conflicting policies and affording fair treatment of the parties caught in the
conflict between state policies.
Court faced with conflicts of laws has to decide the same by applying:
First the written laws
Second the customs of the place
Third judicial decisions
Fourth general principles of law
Fifth principles of justice, reason and equity
5. Grouping of Contacts
6. Place of the most significant relations

PERSONAL LAW
CIVIL CODE PROVISIONS:
Art. 9. No judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence,
obscurity or insufficiency of the laws.
Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and
legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though
living abroad. (9a)
Art. 16. Real property as well as personal property is subject to the law of the
country where it is stipulated.
However, intestate and testamentary successions, both with respect to the order of
succession and to the amount of successional rights and to the intrinsic validity of
testamentary provisions, shall be regulated by the national law of the person whose
succession is under consideration, whatever may be the nature of the property and
regardless of the country wherein said property may be found. (10a)
Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and other public instruments
shall be governed by the laws of the country in which they are executed.
When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or consular officials of
the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country, the solemnities established by
Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution.
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have,
for their object, public order, public policy and good customs shall not be rendered

ineffective by laws or judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions


agreed upon in a foreign country.
Art. 1039. Capacity to succeed is governed by the law of the nation of the decedent.
Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the
laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such,
shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35 (1), (4),
(5) and (6), 3637 and 38. (17a)
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated
and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating
him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
Philippine law.

Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
(1) Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age even with the
consent of parents or guardians;
(2) Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to perform marriages
unless such marriages were contracted with either or both parties believing in good
faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so;
(3) Those solemnized without license, except those covered the preceding Chapter;
(4) Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not failing under Article 41;
(5) Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of
the other; and
(6) Those subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.
Rules of Court
Sec. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders.
The effect of a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign country, having
jurisdiction to render the judgment or final order is as follows:
(a) In case of a judgment or final order upon a specific thing, the judgment or final
order is conclusive upon the title to the thing; and
(b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person, the judgment or final order
is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in
interest by a subsequent title.

In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or
fact.
Corporation code
Sec. 129. Law applicable. - Any foreign corporation lawfully doing business in the
Philippines shall be bound by all laws, rules and regulations applicable to domestic
corporations of the same class, except such only as provide for the creation,
formation, organization or dissolution of corporations or those which fix the
relations, liabilities, responsibilities, or duties of stockholders, members, or officers
of corporations to each other or to the corporation.