Conflict of Laws

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In a world of increasing cross-border communication, trade and travel, conflict of laws questions arise in every field of private law. Accordingly, an understanding of the conflict of laws is a significant important benefit in pursuing most legal careers. In addition, the study of the conflict of laws (or "private international law") provides an important foundation for the study of other international commercial law subjects.

Once based on arcane principles and complex doctrine, the subject has changed dramatically in recent years. These changes reflect a recognition of the need to facilitate the flow of products, wealth and skills across borders and to ensure that disputes with connections to other provinces and countries are resolved fairly.

This course provides a solid grounding in the basic principles governing questions such as whether a court has authority to decide a dispute and whether it should exercise that authority, which law the court should apply to determine the issues in dispute, and whether the court should recognize or enforce the judgment of a court of another province or country. Also considered are the particular rules that have been developed in various areas of private law including tort, contract, property, succession and family law.

The rules applied by Canadian common law courts are compared with those applied in other common law countries, in the United States, in Québec and in Europe. This course also addresses the needs of the federal and regional relations evolving among legal systems that are rapidly reshaping conflict of laws rules in Canada and elsewhere.

Copyright 1999 Janet Walker