You are on page 1of 15

Choices of Law in Torts & Crimes

Ambrosio, Kerr Monsiour

Cruz, Leo
Diumano, Micah
Ecalnea, Maria Cresielda
Hojilla, Kate Aubrey
It is derived from the French term torquere which means to twist.
It is an act or omission producing injury to another without any previous
existing lawful relation.
The term has broader meaning in Anglo-American law and jurisprudence that
includes malice and willful intent in contrast with the Spanish concept of
obligation arising from non-contractual negligence.
Here, under Article 20 and 2176 of the NCC, a tortfeasor is one who, contrary
to law, by his act or omission willfully or negligently causes damage to
another and shall indemnify the latter for the same
Conflicts tort cases arise when the tortious conduct and the place of resulting
injury are different and one state imposes higher standards than the other
Also, a source of problem is the difference in products liability laws and
varying judicial interpretations to the extent of liability.
1. Ordinarily, parties to an accident could not have relied on a particular
state law since accidents are fortuitous, but anyway, they may have
anticipated that they may be held liable for some future act or insure against

2. Likewise, a corporation may expect that local laws in its country of

incorporation and business operations will apply in particular circumstances,
but has no way of complying with various laws without reincorporating in
each State.
If these situations arise, courts should lessen the adverse effects of applying
laws of several states on the parties.
1. To deter socially undesirable or wrongful conduct; and
2. To rectify the consequences of tortious conduct by distributing the losses
that result from accident and products liability.
Usually, a State will not easily displace its own tort laws with the laws of
another state..
However, it is important that tort laws be evaluated in such manner as to
minimize the adverse consequences that might follow from subjecting a
party to the law of more than one State.
Other policies that are universally recognized such as discouraging forum
shopping and achieving decisional harmony should, likewise, be considered.
The law of the place where the alleged tort was committed determines tort
liability in matters affecting conduct and safety.
It may sound simple but there has been difficulty in determining the locus
delicti where the tortious conduct, for example, happens in the USA but the
injuries are sustained here in the Philippines.
Common law countries for example had mostly held that the law place
where the injury or damage arising from a tortious conduct occurs should
govern a particular tort case
On the other hand, Civil Law countries, view that the legality or illegality of a
persons act should be determined by the law of the of the State where that
person is at the time he does such act, even if the injury that results
therefrom is sustained in another state.
This seeming conflict is reconciled by the vested rights theory. This theory
posits that regardless of the place of conduct or the place of injury, the
important common denominator is that an injury must have been inflicted by
one person on another in order for a right of action to arise.

Also, according to the vested rights theory, when a right of action accrues
in favor of a person, that right is enforceable in the courts of whatever state
or country provided that the proper law does not contravene the law or
public policy of the place where the case is being tried.
Mere absence of a similar law in the courts of the place where the tort case is
being tried does not mean that its public policy is being violated.
Loucks v. Standard Oil Co.
(A 1913 U.S. Case)
The Story:
Mr. Loucks a resident of New York was killed while travelling in a highway in
His surviving wife and two children (also residents of New York) sought to
recover indemnity and damages from the oil company, invoking a
Massachusetts tort law (which was the law of the place where the injury took
place), before a court in New York city (A city/state, which also observed the
place of wrong principle).
The court held that it was correct for the New York Court to try and decide
the case instituted by the wife and kids of Mr. Loucks in order to attain relief,
even while invoking the laws of another state.
It further remarked that since a right of action has been vested by virtue of
another states law, there was no reason for the courts of New York to deny
enforcement of that right, even assuming that New York did not have an
exactly identical tort law as that of Massachusetts. The Court held that mere
absence or difference of tort laws does not permit denial of relief and that it
was enough that the laws of Massachusetts did not contravene New Yorks
laws and public policy.
Modern Theories on Foreign Tort Liability
Considers the states contracts with the occurrence and the parties;
1. Contacts such as the place where the tortious conduct occurred, the
place where the injuries were sustained, the domicile, residence or
nationality of the victim and the tortfeasor and the place where the
relationship of the parties are centered serve a two-fold purpose of:
2. identifying the interested state; and
3. evaluating the relevance of these contacts to the issue in question.


- On April 27, 1990, Milagros Morada, a flight attendant for Saudi Arabian
Airlines (SAUDIA), while on a lay-over at Jakarta, went to a disco with fellow
attendants, Thamer and Allah, both Saudi Nationals
- They agreed to have breakfast in Thamers room where the latter attempted
to rape Morada after Allah excused himself from the room
- Hotel personnel heard Moradas cries for help and the Indonesian police
arrested both men
- The Saudi Arabian government interceded on the mens behalf which made
the Indonesian authorities deport then after only two weeks of detention
- In 1992, after Morada had been transferred to Manila and during one of her
trips to Jeddah, she was brought to the police who took her passport and
questioned her about the Jakarta incident
- Her passport was only returned after she agreed to drop the case against the
two men
- In 1993, before the departure of her flight from Riyadh to Manila, a SAUDIA
officer brought her to a Saudi court where she was made to sign a document
written in Arabic
- SAUDIA assured Morada that those were only routine procedure necessary to
drop the case against the two men
- To Moradas shock, she was sentenced to five months imprisonment and to
286 lashes for adultery and violation of Islamic Laws
- The Philippine embassy intervened and was able to have her released and
sent back home but SAUDIA terminated her contract
- Saudi Arabian officials admitted that she had been wrongfully convicted and
subsequently, Morada filed a complaint for damages based on Articles 19
and 21 of the NCC against SAUDIA before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
1. Whether the RTC of Quezon City has jurisdiction
2. Whether Philippine law governs the case
Yes. The Authority of the RTC of QC to hear and decide the case is provided
for under Section 1 of RA No. 7691. Pragmatic considerations, including the
the convenience of the parties, also weigh heavily in favor of the RTC of QC.
Paramount is the private interest of the litigant. Unless the balance is
strongly in favor of the defendant, the plaintiffs choice of forum should
rarely be disturbed.
Weighing the relative claims of the parties, the court found it best to
hear the case in the Philippines. Had it refused to take cognizance of the
case, it would be forcing the plaintiff to seek remedial action in the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia where she no longer maintains substantial connections which

would cause fundamental unfairness to her. Moreover, by hearing the case in

the Philippines, no unnecessary difficulties and inconvenience have been
shown by either of the parties. The choice of forum should thus be upheld.
Yes. Considering that the complaint is one involving torts, the connecting
factor or the point of contact could be the place or places where the
tortuous conduct or lex loci actus occurred. And applying the torts principle
in a conflicts case, the Philippines could be said as the situs of the tort. This
is because it is in the Philippines where petitioner allegedly deceived Morada,
a Filipina residing and working here. That certain acts or parts of the injury
allegedly occurred in another country is of no moment. What is important
here is the place where the over-all harm or the totality of the alleged injury
of complainant had lodged.
In keeping abreast with the modern theories on tort liability, the court
applied the State of the most significant relationship rule, which is the
most appropriate to apply given the factual context of the case.
In applying the said principle to determine the state which has the most
significant relationship, the following contacts are to be taken into account
and evaluated according to their relative importance with respect to the
particular issue:
The place where the injury occurred;
The place where the conduct causing the injury occurred;
The domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and the
place of business of the parties; and
The place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is
That the plaintiff is a resident Filipina, that the overall injury occurred and
lodged in the Philippines, and that the relationship between the parties was
centered in the Philippines, the claim that the Philippines has the most
significant contact with the matter in dispute has been properly established.
Prescinding from the premise that the Philippines is the situs of the tort
complained of and the place having the most interest in the problem, the
court found that the Philippine law on tort liability should have paramount
application to and control in the resolution of the legal issues arising from the
Interest Analysis
Considers the relevant concerns the state may have in the case and its in
having its law applied on that issue
First task of a court before a which a conflicts torts case is filed, is to
determine whether the case involves a false or true conflict
False conflict if only one state has an interest in having its law applied
and failure to apply the other states law would not impair the policy
reflected in that law
True conflict if both states have a real interest in applying their law

- The plaintiff and the defendant's testator (defendant) were both residents of
the City of Rochester, New York.
- The plaintiff and the defendant started from Rochester on a trip which took
them through the Province of Ontario. The defendant was the owner and
operator of the automobile used on the trip; the plaintiff was a passenger.
- While the automobile was being driven in Ontario on September 16, 1960,
the car went out of control, left the highway, and collided with a stone wall.
No collision with any other vehicle was involved. The plaintiff suffered serious
personal injuries as a result of the accident.
- Upon their return to New York State, the plaintiff instituted an action against
the defendant to recover for her injuries. The defendant moved to dismiss
the complaint upon the ground that the Ontario guest statute barred
- The Ontario statute reads: "(2) Notwithstanding subsection 1, the owner or
driver of a motor vehicle, other than a vehicle operated in the business of
carrying passengers for compensation, is not liable for any loss or damage
resulting from bodily injury to, or the death of, any person being carried in, or
upon, or entering or getting on to, or alighting from such motor vehicle.
Whether New York laws may be applied to the case at bar notwithstanding
the fact that the accident occurred in
Ontario, Canada.
Yes. There may be multi-State contacts even though the tort was physically
committed in a single State. Thus, in a case like the present one, in which the
relationship of guest and host was created by an arrangement made in New
York between New York residents, New York clearly has a vital interest in the
determination of the incidents of the relationship. Under the modern view, in
a common-law tort action, the law of the State which has "the most
significant contacts with the matter in dispute" and which has the dominant
interest in it is accepted as the governing law.
The question of whether a guest should be barred from recovering from his
host for the host's negligence in the operation of his automobile is a question
of policy to be decided by the appropriate legislative body. New York's policy
is in favor of allowing a recovery by the gratuitous passenger. On the other
hand, Ontario's policy, since 1935, has been contrary to that of New York,
denying recovery to a gratuitous passenger even for gross or wanton
The primary purpose of the Ontario statute was stated by an academic
commentator, shortly after its enactment, as follows: "Undoubtedly the
object of this provision is to prevent the fraudulent assertion of claims by
passengers, in collusion with the drivers, against insurance companies." In

the light of this purpose, it is apparent that the interest of Ontario in the
enforcement of its legislative policy is limited to accidents involving Ontario
residents. Ontario is concerned only with the adverse effect of guest-host
recoveries upon Ontario insurance premiums. Ontario insurance premiums
would not be affected by a recovery chargeable against an insurance policy
issued in a foreign jurisdiction covering a foreign car. At any rate, the interest
of Ontario in having its policy apply to nonresidents traveling through Ontario
is a minimal one.
The issue presented only a false conflict. Whether Canadian Policy behind its
guest statute was to protect the host from suits by ungrateful guests or
insurance companies from collusive suits, Canada had no interest in applying
its law when both victim and tortfeasor were non-domiciliaries and the car
was registered and insurance on it taken in New York. On the other hand,
New York policy allowing recovery to all persons injured extends to its
domiciliaries even when they act outside of the state. The court decided that
the application of New York statutes will advance the policy reflected in that
law without imparing the policy of Canada.
The interest of New York is obviously the dominant one as to this issue. New
York has a strong interest in the application of its policy allowing a recovery
by guest passengers, to an accident involving New York residents who were
injured while traveling in an automobile registered and insured in New York,
upon a trip originating and terminating in New York, under an arrangement
made in New York. It would be against the strong public policy of New York to
apply a foreign statute denying a guest the right to recover from his host to a
case in which New York plainly had the dominant interest.
Cavers third principle of preference in torts deals with rules that sanction
some kinds of conduct engaged in by a defendant in one state and extends
the benefit of this higher standard of conduct and financial protection to the
plaintiff even if the state of injury does not create analogous liabilities.
- Minor, plaintiff Herbert Schmidt, through his mother and guardian, sued
Driscoll Hotel, Inc., doing business as the Hook-Em-Cow bar and Caf in
South St. Paul, Minnesota, for damages alleged to have resulted from the
defendants illegal sale of liquor to Johnson Sorrensen.
- As a result, Sorrensen became intoxicated in defendants bar so that shortly
after, plaintiff sustained injuries when an automobile driven by Sorrensen, in
which plaintiff was a passenger, turned over near Prescott, Wisconsin.
- Defendant moved to dismiss the action on the ground that the pleadings
failed to state a claim against the defendant and that the court lacked
- The trial court granted the defendants motion, having determined that no
penalty by way of collecting damages arose under the Minnesota Civil

Damage Act, unless the illegal sale in the state was followed by an injury in
the state because the law does not provide for extraterritorial effect.
Hence, the appeal.
- Defendants position is that the action is governed by the law of torts and
that, since the last act in the series of events for which plaintiff instituted his
action occurred in Wisconsin, which has no Civil Damage Act, the latter can
have no application in determining plaintiffs rights or defendants liability. In
support thereof defendant cites Restatement, Conflict of Laws, 377 which
states that: The place of wrong is the state where the last event necessary
to make an actor liable for an alleged tort takes place and 378 which states
that: The law of the place of wrong determines whether a person has
sustained a legal injury.
Whether Minnesota Laws may apply to the case at bar despite the
pronouncements in Restatement, Conflicts of Laws 377 and 378 that make
the law of the place of injury (the last event) or Wisconsin Laws applicable.
Yes. The allegations of the complaint make clear that plaintiffs damages are
the result of two distinct wrongs one committed by defendant in Minnesota
when it sold Sorrenson intoxicating liquors and one committed by Sorrenson
in Wisconsin when his negligence caused the car in which plaintiff was riding
to turn over.
From the foregoing, it would follow that, if the principles expressed in
Restatement, Conflict of Laws 377 and 378 are held to be applicable to
multistate fact situations like the present, then neither laws of the state
where the last event necessary to create tort liability took place nor the laws
of the state where the liquor dealers violations of the liquor statutes
occurred would afford an injured party any remedy against the offending
liquor dealer for the injuries which resulted from his statutory violations.
The result would be that here both the interest of Wisconsin in affording
whatever remedies it deems proper for those injured there as the result of
foreign violations of liquor laws and the interest of Minnesota in admonishing
a liquor dealer whose violations of its statutes was the cause of such injuries;
and in providing for the injured party a remedy therefore under the Civil
Damage Act would become ineffective.
The principles in Restatement, Conflict of Laws, 377 and 378, should not be
held applicable to fact situations such as the present to bring the result
described and that the determination to the opposite effect would be in
conformity with principles of equity and justice. Here, all parties involved
were residents of Minnesota. Defendant was licensed under its laws and
requires to operate its establishment in compliance within Minnesota when,
as a result thereof, Sorrenson became intoxicated before leaving its
establishment. The consequential harm to plaintiff, a Minnesota citizen,

accordingly should be compensated for. By this construction, no greater

burden is placed upon defendant than was intended by the Civil Damage Act.
Schimdt illustrates the imposition of liability under a substantive rule of tort
that has a strong underlying admonitory policy.
The law of the tort is deemed as the proper law in questions involving
regulation of conduct while the law of the domicile of the parties governs in
matters that relate to loss-distribution or financial protection.
Foreign tort claim
A tortious liability is "transitory. An action for tort may be
brought wherever the tortfeasor is subject to suit.
Foreign Tort Claims
In general, claims for damages arising from torts committed abroad may be
given due course in the forum.
1. The foreign tort is based on a civil action and not on a crime;
2. The foreign tort is not contrary to the public policy of the forum; and
3. The judicial machinery of the forum is adequate to satisfy the claim.
Foreign tort claims: The defendant in a transnational tort is often sued in a
foreign court against his will.
The forum court is usually based on the consent of the parties.
Foreign Tort Claims: Where conflict of laws arise:
The question of jurisdiction in foreign torts has given rise to disagreements
between courts especially on issues involving products liability.
Basis of conflicts tort cases:
1. Negligence
2. Strict liability in tort
3. Breach of warranty against hidden defects

Foreign Tort Claims

Example of product liability case:
1. Plaintiff purchases a foreign-made product.
2. He ingests (fungible) or uses (non-fungible) it in an unaltered
condition in accordance with the manufacturer's printed instructions.
3. He suffers an injury.
Foreign Tort Claims
Problem: A Dutch market gardener, who operated nurseries near Rotterdam
using water from the Rhine river to irrigate his field, filed an action in the
Dutch court alleging that a French mining company, Alsac, was discharging
chloride into the Rhine river causing pollution damage. (Bier vs. Mines de
Potasse d' Alsac 1976 ECR 1735)
Question: whether the place where the harmful event occurred meant the
place where the wrongful conduct occurred (France) or the place where its
damaging effects were felt (The Netherlands).
Answer: EITHER


I. Scope/Definition:
The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an
alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or the treaty
of the United States.
II. Requisites:
1. The claim must be made by an alien;
2. The claim must be for a tort; and
3. Tort must be in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the
United States.
III. Types of defendants:
1. State actors e.g., foreign governments and their officials
2. Private individuals and corporations
IV. Cases:
1. Filartiga v. Pena- Irala
2. Tel- Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic
3. In re Estate of Ferdinand Marcos, Human Rights Litigation
4. Kadic vs. Karadzic

5. Doe vs. Unocal

6. Sosa v. Alvarez- Machain
7. Doe v. Exxon Mobil Corp.

claim of those who suffered torture, disappearance and summary

execution during Marcos tenure as President;
Sison torture case; comfinement
Piongpongco radio (US Citizen)
exemplary damages;
compensatory damages.
Sought dismissal based on the grounds that the act of state
doctrine rendered the cases non justiciable; (ruled out in the case of
Trajano v. Marcos)
jurisdiction: acts made outside USA
statute of limitation: claim must be made within two years following
the law of Hawaii where the case was filed.

Act of State non-justiciable: No. The acts fall under violation of laws
of nation
Acts in violation of the fundamental laws of the nation is not
considered as acts of the state;
Command responsibility rule;
Jurisdiction: US Court has jurisdiction since the acts complained of
constitute gross (inhumane conducts) violation of the fundamental
human rights under the laws of nation.
Statute of Limitation: Case filed within the period. Any action
against Marcos was tolled during the time Marcos was president.
Applicable law: Alien Tort Act and Torture Victim Protection Act not
the civil code of the Philippines. Feb. 1986/ March 1986.

Slavery or slave trade;
Murder or causing disappearance of individuals;

Torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or

Prolonged arbitrary detention;
Systematic racial discrimination
Consistent patterns of gross violations of internationally recognized
human rights.


liability is deemed personal to the tortfeasor and makes him
amenable to suit in whatever jurisdiction he is found
Injury to an individual
Purpose is to assign liability to perpetrators for indemnification
Local in character
- the perpetrator of the wrong can be sued only in the state wherein he
commits the crime
- Injury to the State
Purpose is punishment and reformation
Law of the place where the crime was committed is the controlling law since
it determines the specific law by which the criminal is to be penalized and at
the same time designates the state that has the jurisdiction to punish him.
Principle of nullum crimen nulla poena sine lege
Law in this context meant the municipal law of the sovereign state.
However, development in public international since WWII have increasingly
recognized that this principle can be satisfied if the act is considered a crime
under international law.
Article 14 of the Civil Code provides:
Penal laws and those of public security and safety shall be obligatory
upon all who live or sojourn in Philippine territory subject to the principles of
international law and to treaty stipulations.
Crimes committed by state officials, diplomatic representatives and
officials of recognized international organizations
Basis: Doctrine of State Immunity

Courts cannot blindly adhere and take on its face the communication from
the DFA that petitioner is covered by any immunity. DFAs determination is
only preliminary which has no binding effect on the courts.
Section 45 (a) provides immunity from legal process with respect to acts
performed by the officers in their official capacity.
Petitioner is an economist working with ADB. Sometime in 1994, for
allegedly uttering defamatory words against fellow worker Joyce Cabal, he
was charged before the MeTC with 2 counts of grave oral defamation. The
MeTC judge received an office of protocol from the DFA stating that
petitioner is immune from suit by virtue of an Agreement between ADB and
the Philippine government.
Courts cannot blindly adhere and take on its face the communication from
the DFA that petitioner is covered by any immunity. DFAs determination is
only preliminary which has no binding effect on the courts.
Section 45 (a) provides immunity from legal process with respect to acts
performed by the officers in their official capacity.
3. Slandering is not covered by the agreement because our laws do not allow
the commission of he crime in the name of official duty.
4. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations - a diplomatic agent enjoys
immunity from criminal jurisdiction of the receiving state except in the case
of an action relating to any professional or commercial activity exercised by
the diplomatic agent in the receiving state outside his official functions.
Crimes committed on a foreign vessel even if it within the territorial waters
of the coastal state.
Philippine laws do not apply as long as the effect of such crime does not
disturb our peace and order.
Rule on the jurisdiction of a coastal state over crimes committed in a foreign
vessel are now contained in Article 27 of UNCLOS.

The criminal jurisdiction of the coastal State should not be exercised on

board a foreign ship passing through the territorial sea to arrest any person
or to conduct any investigation in connection with any crime commited on
board the ship during its passage, save only in the following cases:
a. if the consequences of the crime extend to the Coastal State
b. if the crime is of a kind to disturb the peace of a country or the good
order of the territorial sea
c. if the assistance of the local authorities has been requested by the
master of the ship or by the diplomatic agent or consular officer of the flag of
the State
d. if such measures are necessary for the suppression of illicit traffic in
narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances.
William Fowler and another defendant were accused of theft of
16 bottles of champagne valued at $20 while on board the transport
Lawton, then navigating the high seas. These bottles were the property
of Julian Lindsay.
The accused contends that the CFI of Manila was without
jurisdiction to the crime charged inasmuch as the crime was
committed on the high seas, not in the City of Manila, not within the
Bay of Manila or even upon seas within the 3 mile limit.
The prosecution contends in accordance with the orders of the
Military Governor and the Civil Commission, admiralty jurisdictions over
crimes committed on board vessels flying the flag of the United States
has been vested in the CFIs of Manila
Act 136 provides that of all crimes and offenses committed on
the high seas or beyond the jurisdiction of any country or within any of
the navigable waters of the Philippine archipelago, on board a ship or
water craft of any kind registered or licensed in the Philippine Islands.
The purpose of the law was to define the jurisdiction of the CFI in
criminal cases for crimes committed on board vessels registered or
licensed in the Philippines.
The transport Lawton not being a vessel of this class, our courts
are without jurisdiction to take cognizance of a crime committed on
board the same.
Wong Cheng is accused of having illegally smoked opium aboard the
English merchant vessel Changsha while anchored in Manila Bay, two
and half miles from the shores of Manila. Wong Cheng contends lack of
jurisdiction of the trial court.

French Rule vs. English Rule

French Rule - crimes committed aboard a foreign merchant vessel
should not be prosecuted in the courts of the country within whose
territorial jurisdiction they were committed, unless their commission
affects the peace and security of the territory
English Rule crimes perpetrated under such circumstances are in
general triable in the courts of the country within whose territory they
were committed.
We follow the English Rule.
Except as provided in the treaties and laws of preferential applications,
the provisions of this Code shall be enforced not only within the Philippine
Archipelago, including its atmosphere, interior waters, and marine zone, but
also outside of its jurisdiction against those who:
a. Should commit an offense while on a Philippine ship or airship
b. should forge or counterfeit any coin or currency note of the
Philippine Islands or obligations and securities issued by the Government of
the Philippines Islands
c. Should be liable for acts connected with the introduction into these
Islands of the obligations and securities mentioned in the preceding number
d. While being public officers or employees, should commit an offense
in the exercise of their functions
e. Should commit any of the crimes against national security and law
of nations.