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

Law Notes Conflict of Laws Notes

Supervision Notes Property Ch. 12 Notes

Updated Supervision Notes Property Ch. 12 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:


Step 1 – Characterisation

Contract, tort or property?


  • Rome I Regulation

  • Look at whether B has paid/whether bicycle is suitable for its purpose

  • Seller owns the bicycle: implied term in English domestic law (Sale of Goods Act 1979, s12)


When buyer is asserting that because of sale to buyer, seller has no title to transfer to anyone else (i.e. buyer is claiming bicycle itself) ? proprietary question.

E.g. Kuwait Airways Corp v Iraqi Airways Co

  • Facts: Ds had possession of 10 aircrafts which were taken from claimants by Iraqi forces during first Gulf War. Some aircrafts were damaged/destroyed when they were returned.

  • Claimants: Wanted delivery up of aircraft/recover damages for wrongful interference with claimants’ property/ value of aircraft.

  • Defendants: relied on Iraqi law; asserted good title to aircraft, Resolution of Iraqi Council gave them aircraft so claimants no longer owned aircraft, can’t claim in tort for damage.

  • Central issue of determination: property issue – did Iraqi Resolution give title to aircraft to D thereby defeating claim in tort?

Voluntary or involuntary?

Where property has been requisitioned or nationalised by state/dealt with by court as part of execution of judgment

  • Involuntary transfer

  • Consider different factors, particularly public policy reasons

Movable or immovable?

Property: personalty and realty

  • Distinction is not the same distinction as in domestic law

  • Categorisation largely depends on physical characteristics of property

  • If unclear, apply lex situs

Immovables: land in England, all interests in land (including leases)

NB Leases are personalty in domestic law (Freke v Lord Carbery)

Property abroad: characterised as immovable or movable according to lex situs

Tangible or intangible?

Factual – property is either factual or it isn’t factual.

  • Tangibles: e.g. bicycle, painting

    • Exception: share certificates evidence of ownership, physical possession of certificate is enough to have complete title of share

  • Intangibles: sum in credit, debts, patents, shares, etc

Williams v Colonial Bank

C of A: distinction should be drawn between possession of certificates and ownership of shares

  • Law of England determined ownership of physical share certificates in a NY company

  • But did not determine effect of possession of certificates as matter of any rights against the company

What governs effect of possession of certificate?

  • For law governing existence of share/debt

  • Law of incorporation determines questions of membership of company – what rights are given to members/how title can pass

Step 2 – Immovables


Court must decide whether it has jurisdiction, before deciding what the choice of law rule for property questions over foreign immovable property might be.

  • Art 22: English court cannot take jurisdiction over proceedings, which have as their object a right in rem in immovable property located in another MS.

  • National rules: English court does not have jurisdiction over question of title to foreign immovable property located in third state.

  • British South Africa Co v Companhia de Mocambique: H of L, held, it did not have jurisdiction in an action for trespass to land in Africa. Cannot decide an action of title nor one for possession for foreign land.

  • Hesperides Hotels v Aegean Turkish Holidays: H of L, refused to hear an action in respect of an alleged conspiracy made in England to trespass in hotel in Cyprus.

  • Exceptions to rule

Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982, s30

Modified Mocambique rule.

  • Actions for trespass or other torts affecting immovable property situated outside England/EU can be heard in English court

  • Rare still for English court to exercise its discretion to decide dispute

  • Applicable law: foreign law

English trust/will

If will/trust concerns in whole or in part with foreign land, question of title thereto arises incidentally.

  • English court can act upon person of the trustee or personal representative

Equitable jurisdiction in personam

English courts can act in personam upon a defendant within jurisdiction to enforce personal obligation, incumbent upon D when subject matter is land abroad.

  • Makes decree of specific performance against D

  • D is in contempt of court if disobeyed

Basic requirements

  1. D is within jurisdiction

  2. Subject matter arises out of contract between parties/concerns D’s fraudulent or other unconscionable conduct, or arises from equitable or fiduciary relationship

  3. Act D is ordered to do must not be illegal or impossible by lex situs

Requirement 2 – Explanation

  • Contract:

    • Penn v Lord Baltimore decree of specific performance was made to enforce contract to fix boundaries of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

  • Fraud:

    • Cranstown v Johnston creditor refused debtor’s tender of payment to recoup money owed to him and put up debtor’s land at public sale but bought it himself at low price. Held, ordered to reconvey land, otherwise gross injustice arises.

    • Masri v Consolidated Contractors International: C of A, appointed receiver to collect in oil revenues over concession in Yemen belonging to judgment debtor company.

      • Order itself had no in rem effect (i.e. didn’t alter title to property/receiver’s success in obtaining actual title to property)

  • Any other equity or fiduciary relationship

    • Privity of obligation between parties

    • Norris v Chambers: held, court had no jurisdiction to determine matter; neither original company or vendor were parties to the action

    • Cf Mercantile Investment & General Trust v River Plate Co: court, held had jurisdiction to enforce charge since Ds had expressly agreed to respect claimant’s rights when taking transfer of land.

Choice of law

Immovable property: lex situs

  • Transfer, extinction of interests in immovable and formal/essential validity of transfers all governed by lex situs

  • No exceptions to rule.

  • Adams v Clutterbuck

Two domiciled Englishmen in England entered into lease of land in...

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