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1. Definition, Nature and Composition

Definition: Conflict of laws is that part of the municipal law of a state which directs its
courts and administrative agencies, when confronted with a legal problem involving a
foreign element, whether or not they should apply foreign laws.

(foreign system of law = a distinct legal system prevailing in a territory other than in which the
court is functioning)

Nature of Conflict of Laws:

Conflict of Laws comes into operation whenever a court has before them a
CONFLICT OF LAWS CASE—a case or subject matter involving a foreign element or
any fact relevant to the issue which has connection occurring in more than one state or
nation, so that in deciding the case, it is necessary to make a choice between the laws
of different states. It is procedural in nature where resolution of the case is by way of
determining which court of two or more states have jurisdiction to hear the case and
which system of law they would apply.

Composition of Conflict of Laws:

Matters relating to or the determination of (1) Jurisdiction and (2) Choice of Law, in
cases involving a foreign element, and the (3) Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign
Judgments form the basis of, or the essential elements of, the Conflict of Laws.

2. Distinction from Public International Law

Conflict of laws Public International Law

1 Governs private individuals or corporations Governs sovereign states and
entities that are
internationally recognized or
possessed of international
2 Municipal in character, NOT part of International in character
international law
3 Deals with transactions strictly private in Applies only to transactions
nature in which the country as such has in which only sovereign
generally no interest states or entities with
international personality are
concerned and which
generally affect public
4 Recourse is had to judicial or administrative The concerned states may
tribunals in accordance with the rules of first resort to peaceful
procedure of the country where they sit remedies. If these remedies
fail, the states concerned may
resort to forcible remedies
3. Sources of Conflict of Laws
Direct Sources Treaties, International conventions, Constitutions, Codifications
and statues, judicial decisions, international customs
Indirect sources Natural moral law, writings and treatises of thinkers and famous
writers and jurists on the subject


1. Definition of Jurisdiction

Black’s Law Dict.

Power to hear and determine a cause.
1. It is the power of the court to decide a matter in controversy and presupposes
the existence of a duly constituted court with control over the subject matter
and the parties.
2. It defines the powers of courts to inquire into facts, apply the law, make
decisions, and declare judgment.
3. It is legal right by which judges exercise their authority.
4. It exists when court has cognizance of class of cases involved (over subject
matter), proper parties are present (over the person), and point to be decided is
within powers of court (over the res).

In CoL, jurisdiction is the power of the court of the forum to render a decision that
will create legal rights and interests which other states will recognize and enforce.

2. Kinds of Jurisdiction:
a) Jurisdiction over the subject matter
The power to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the
proceedings in question belong; conferred by law, not by consent of the parties
by their voluntary submission
b) Jurisdiction over the person
Power of court to render a judgment that will bind the partners involved
Jurisdiction over the plaintiff – acquired when invokes the power the
power of the court when institutes an action by proper pleading
Jurisdiction over the defendant – acquired when he enters his
appearance or by coercive power of legal process (read: personal or substituted
service of summons) exerted by the court over him.
RULE OF SUBMISSION—A plaintiff who files suit with the court is
deemed to have consented to its exercise of jurisdiction over his original cause
of action and he would then be subject to judgment of the court
—As defendant, personal appearance or
appearance by counsel=consent to the court’s
exercise of its jurisdiction
XPN to ROS—personal appearance or by counsel if for sole purpose of
questioning jurisdiction


served by handing a copy to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive
and sign, by tendering it to him
personal service is not possible for justifiable causes, by:
 Leaving copies of the summons at the defendant’s residence with
some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein
 Leaving copies at defendant’s office or regular place of business with
some competent in charge
c) Jurisdiction over the res (in rem, as opposed to in personam)
Jurisdiction over the particular subject-matter in controversy, regardless of
persons who may be interested therein.
The basis of its existence is the presence of the property within the territorial
jurisdiction of the forum.
The purpose of the suit is to affect interests of ALL persons in a thing.

Ex. Land registration cases

Extra: Quasi in rem = the purpose is neither to impose obligation on anyone (in
personam) or to affect interests of all persons in a thing (in rem), but to affect interests
of particular persons in a thing. Example of which are foreclosure of mortgage,
partition, action to quiet title, personal status of plaintiff, etc.

Service of Summons

Action in personam – personal service or substituted service

– Service by publication is not sufficient

3. Forum non-conveniens
4. Assumption of jurisdiction
a) Application of internal law
b) Application of foreign law



1. Theory of comity
2. Vested-rights theory
3. Theory of local law
4. Theory of harmony of laws
5. Theory of justice


1. Recognition vs. Enforcement
2. Conditions and requisites for recognition and
Enforcement of foreign judgment


1. Concept and Definition
2. Factors giving rise to the problem of characterization
3. Steps in Characterization

1. Definition of Personal Law
2. Theories in determining personal law
a) Nationality Theory
b) Domiciliary Theory
c) Situs or eclectic Theory


1. Definition
Renvoi – refer back or return a matter for consideration or judgment to the law of
the forum; “remission”

The problem arises whenever there is doubt as to whether reference by the lex fori
(law of the country where the problem arises) to the foreign law involves
i. Reference to the internal law of the foreign law, minus conflicts
ii. Reference to the entirety of the foreign law, including conflicts rules

Statement of the Problem

"When the Conflict of Laws rule of the forum refers a jural matter to a foreign law
for decision, is the reference to the purely internal rules of law of the foreign system;
i.e., to the totality of the foreign law minus its Conflict of Laws rules?"

Theory of the doctrine of renvoi is that the court of the forum, in determining the question
before it, must take into account the whole law of the other jurisdiction, but also its rules as to
conflict of laws, and then apply the law to the actual question which the rules of the other
jurisdiction prescribe. This may be the law of the forum.
The recognition of the renvoi theory implies that the rules of the conflict of laws are to be
understood as incorporating not only the ordinary or internal law of the foreign state or
country, but its rules of the conflict of laws as well. According to this theory 'the law of a
country' means the whole of its law.
State 1 (Philippines) – follows nationality theory
State 2 (California) – follows domiciliary theory

2. Application of renvoi

3. Proposed solutions to the problem of renvoi

***Adopt renvoi doctrine which considering the circumstances of a given situation

will best result in the fairness, equity, and justice.
Accept renvoi – long time domiciliaries of the Philippines
Reject renvoi – all other instances
4. Renvoi vs. Double Renvoi vs. Transmission