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Clarkson & Hill's Conflict of Laws

Clarkson & Hill's Conflict of Laws (5th edn)

Jonathan Hill and Máire Ní Shúilleabháin
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date: 24 May 2024

p. 3156. Domicile, nationality, and habitual residencelocked

p. 3156. Domicile, nationality, and habitual residencelocked

  • Jonathan HillJonathan HillProfessor of Law, University of Bristol


The object of jurisdictional rules is to determine an appropriate forum and choice of law rules are designed to lead to the application of the most appropriate law, the law that generally the parties might reasonably expect to apply. The test for recognition of foreign judgments is not dissimilar. A judgment granted by an appropriate forum should normally be recognised. The problem is one of ascertaining the connecting factor (or factors) which would best satisfy the criterion of appropriateness. With regards to personal connecting factors, there is little international agreement as to the appropriate test of ‘belonging’. In England and most common law countries, the traditional personal connecting factor is domicile, which loosely translates as a person's permanent home. One of the problems here is that domicile is a connecting factor which is interpreted differently in various parts of the world. In contrast, most of continental Europe and other civil law countries have traditionally used nationality as the basic connecting factor, especially for choice of law purposes; the personal law is the law of the country of which the person is a citizen. In some countries, including England, another connecting factor, habitual residence, has emerged. This is increasingly being used for the purposes of jurisdiction rules and in the law relating to recognition of foreign judgments. This chapter examines each of these personal connecting factors. Primary emphasis is laid on domicile and habitual residence as the two main connecting factors employed by English law.

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