This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Law Notes Conflict of Laws Notes

Common Law Jurisdiction Notes

Updated Common Law Jurisdiction Notes

Conflict of Laws Notes

Conflict of Laws

Approximately 333 pages

Conflict of Laws notes fully updated for recent exams in the UK. These notes cover all the major conflicts of laws cases and so are perfect for anyone doing a law degree in the UK or, given the international nature of this subject, these notes also make a great supplement for those studying law abroad.

These notes were formed directly from a reading of the cases and main texts and are vigorous, concise and very well written. Everything is conveniently split up by topic as you can see by the l...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Conflict of Laws Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:



  1. Service on D (or consent) as basis of jurisdiction:

    1. D in England: Under national law if D can be served with the claim form while in England, then the court has jurisdiction over D ‘as of right’.

This is based on a territorial view of the court’s jurisdiction. It has been criticised as exorbitant as it is not, in principle, limited to subject-matter jurisdiction.
  1. Service out: The English court takes subject-matter juirisdiction over absent Ds under CPR 6.36 and PD 6B by permitting sevice of the claim form on D out of the territorial jurisdiction in some cases (service-out cases).

  2. Consent: Alternatively, where D has consented to the English court’s jurisdiction (e.g. in contract, by submission or counterclaim) the English court will have jurisdiction.

  1. Adjudicatory discretion: Where there is more than one available forum, D may contest the jurisdiction. The English court can choose whether or not to exercise its jurisdiction, based on the doctrine of forum conveniens—i.e. the appropriateness of trial in England. The exercise of national jurisdiction is therefore a matter of discretion.

  • Many other systems of law mistrust judicial discretion as uncertain and unjust.

  • Compare to BIRR: The discretionary approach can be compared to the rules of jurisdiction under BIRR. Where the Recast Regulation does apply that Regulation determines the grounds for jurisdiction. The method of service of the claim form is dealt with under CPR 6.3, 6.33 and 6.34. There is no discretion except as permitted under BIRR (as in Art.30).

Forum conveniens—i.e. discretion in the national rules—arises in one of the following situations:

  1. Stays: Where proceedings have been served on a D as of right (e.g. personal service on individual in the jurisdiction, e.g. Abramovich): D can still apply for a stay of proceedings validly commenced in England on the basis that there is another clearly more appropriate forum in which the case can be heard—i.e. asking the court not to exercise discretion; or

  2. Service out: Where D cannot be served within the territory of the jurisdiction, C applies for permission to serve the claim form out of the jurisdiction under CPR 6.36 and PD 6B:

    1. The case must fall within one of the grounds laid out in PD 6B r.3.1; and

    2. C must show a sufficiently cogent case on the merits (i.e. the substance) of the claim; and

    3. The court must be satisfied that England is the proper place in which to bring the claim (CPR 6.37(3))—essentially discretionary, i.e. C is asking the court to exercise its discretion.

Service of the claim form ‘as of right’

  1. Individuals:

    1. Method of service: CPR 6.3—e.g. personal service, by post, by fax. There are detailed rules e.g. filming of personal service (but we don’t need to know that much detail).

    2. Ground of jurisdiction: physical presence: Maharanee of Baroda v Wildenstein (high point): English court may assert jurisdiction based on mere transient physical presence, with no subject-matter connection.

  • FACTS: Maharanee bought a painting in Paris from Wildenstein. Maharanee was also a resident in France (i.e. French D; French C). There was a dispute about whether the painting was what Wildenstein claimed it was. Wildenstein was only in the UK for a few days.

  • HELD: Merely by being here in England, he had subjected himself to the jurisdiction of the English court, notwithstanding there was no predictable connection between the transaction for purchase of this painting in France by French D and French C, and English courts.

  1. Companies:

    1. Companies incorporated or registered in England and Wales: Serve at principal office or at any place where it carries on its activities which has a real connection with the claim (CPR 6.9 and Cranfield v Bridgegrove) or at registered office or on any director or secretary under s.1139 Companies Act 2006. This basis of jurisdiction is limited to companies incorporated in England: Sea Assets v PT Garuda (No.1).

    2. Foreign companies (i.e. ‘any other company’ in CPR 6.9): Can be served at any place where it carries on its activities or any place of business within the jurisdiction.

      1. A reasonably fixed & permanent place which is obvious as a place at which the company’s business is done: Dunlop v Cudell:

  • FACTS: The foreign company—Cudell—were exhibiting and selling cars at a stall at a trade fair. C claimed the car had tyres which infringed… Were C present? They had a stall at the trade fair for 9 days.

  • HELD: They were carrying on their business. They were at a fixed place—had hired a stall at the trade fair—and even if they were only there for a limited time, that was reasonably permanent.

    1. Usually need agent who can bind the company: Lakah v Al-Jazeera: In order to be the foreign company’s place of business, usually need an agent who can bind the foreign company. The agent must be doing the foreign company’s business, not its own business, done at that place.

  • FACTS: C wanted English courts to assert jurisdiction over the big Al-Jazeera, claiming that its associated company (Al-Jazeera UK) were doing business in England.

  • HELD: This associated company could not bind the foreign company to contract. Al-Jazeera UK was not therefore doing Al-Jazeera’s business.

    1. (The alternative jurisdiction taken over foreign companies under Companies Act 2006 is now less important—so don’t need to worry too much about it. CPR 6.9 is permissible and wider: Saab v Saudi American Bank.)

    2. Doesn’t need to be matters related to place of business: Jurisdiction on this ground is not apparently limited to matters related to the place of business (cp Art.7(5) BIRR).

    3. Alternatively: Person in senior position: Can serve on a person in a ‘senior position’ in the company (CPR R 6.5(3)(b)): ‘A claim form is served personally on… (b) a company or other corporation by leaving it with a person holding a senior position within the company or corporation.’ (cite Lakah v Al-Jazeera).


Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Conflict of Laws Notes.