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Cover Clarkson & Hill's Conflict of Laws

4. Contractual obligations  

Jonathan Hill

This chapter deals with contract disputes which have foreign elements that come before the English court: one or both of the parties may be foreign; the making or performance of the contract may be connected with a number of foreign countries. In this type of case which law is the court to apply? The general principle is that every international contract has a governing law — known at common law as the ‘proper law’and under EU law as the ‘applicable law’. Subject to certain limitations, parties to a contract are free to choose the applicable law; if the parties fail to make a choice, the governing law is, as a general rule, the law of the country with which the contract is most closely connected. The remainder of the chapter focuses on the Rome I Regulation, including its scope and interpretation; determining the applicable law; the limits of the applicable law; articles 5 to 8; and choice of law aspects of various contractual issues.

Chapter

Cover Clarkson & Hill's Conflict of Laws

3. Foreign judgments  

Jonathan Hill

This chapter deals with the recognition of enforcement of foreign judgments by English courts. The crucial question is not whether foreign judgments should be recognised and enforced in England but which judgments should be recognised and enforced. There are, broadly speaking, two theories. The first is the theory of obligation, which is premised on the notion that if the original court assumed jurisdiction on a proper basis the court's judgment should prima facie be regarded as creating an obligation between the parties to the foreign proceedings which the English court ought to recognise and, where appropriate, enforce. The alternative theory is based on the idea of reciprocity: the courts of country X should recognise and enforce the judgments of country Y if, mutatis mutandis, the courts of country Y recognise and enforce the judgments of country X. Whichever theory is adopted, the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments is limited by a range of defences which may be invoked by the party wishing to resist the judgment in question. It would be unrealistic to expect the English court to give effect to a foreign judgment which conflicts with fundamental notions of justice and fairness. So, the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments is a two-stage process: Are the basic conditions for recognition or enforcement satisfied? If so, is there a defence by reason of which the foreign judgment should nevertheless not be recognised or enforced? The remainder of the chapter discusses the recognition and enforcement at common law; statutory regimes based on the common law; recognition and enforcement under the Brussels I Recast; and United Kingdom judgments.