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Public Policy in the Conflict of Laws: a Chinese Wall around Little England?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2008


The English courts have often incurred the reproach of undue insularity in their attitude to foreign law.1 A common gripe is that they have failed to recognise that there is a world elsewhere, and that England is not “a legal island”.2 Savigny, we are told,3 was moved to lament over the fact that although in other branches of knowledge there was an internationalist outlook in England, in the field of jurisprudence alone it “remained divided from the rest of the world, as if by a Chinese wall”. Recently it has been suggested that “The foundation of this Chinese wall… lay … in an unquestioning belief in the superiority of the common law and its institutions, at least in England.”4 It would be unsafe to affirm that the charge of insularity has always been without foundation. The “Little England”5 attitude of mind, Roskill LJ reminds us,6 was “once proclaimed in the phrase ‘Athanasius contra mundum’”. And it should occasion no surprise that the examples commonly advanced to substantiate the charge are usually drawn from private international law.7

Copyright © British Institute of International and Comparative Law 1996

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1. Scots lawyers are usually excluded from the charge since they are generally regarded as being “more internationally-minded”: Markesinis, The Gradual Convergence (1994), p.2.

2. E.g. Bingham, T. H.. “‘There is a World Elsewhere’: The Changing Perspectives of English Law” (1992) 41 I.C.L.Q. 513, 514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar It is said (Markesinis, idem, p. 1) that “This insular mentality will survive for some time after the Channel Tunnel technically puts an end to our status as islands off the continent of Europe.”

3. Quoted by Bingham. ibid.

5. Idem, p.515.

6. James Buchanan v. Babco [1977] 1 All E.R. 518. 529.

7. Notable among these is Lord Denning's dictum in The Atlantic Star [1973] Q.B. 364. 382: “No one who comes to this court asking for justice should come in vain … The right to come here is not confined to Englishmen. It extends to any friendly foreigner. He can seek the aid of our courts if he decides to do so. You may call this ‘forum shopping’ if you please, but if the forum is England, it is a good place to shop in. both for the quality of the goods and the speed of the service.”

8. P. St. J. Smart (1983) 99 L.Q.R. 24. 26.

9. Hereinafter referred to as “the normally applicable foreign law”.

10. Dicey, and Morris, , Conflict of Laws (12th edn. 1993), Vol.I, pp.88 et seq.Google Scholar; Batiffol, and Lagarde, , Droit International Privé (8th edn. 1993), Vol.I, pp.567 et seq.Google Scholar

11. Although this use of public policy may be criticised as contradicting the international spirit of private international law, it is justified on the ground that it provides a necessary escape route from the unpredictable results of applying choice of law rules. In this sense public policy “serves a corrective function”: Castel. Canadian Conflict of Laws (1994), p.163. See also Holleaux. Foyer and de la Pradelle. Droit International Privé. para.602: “Public policy, far from irremediably blocking the conflicts system, permits it to surmount some of its weaknesses.”Google Scholar

12. E.g. the willingness to learn from others (Bingham. op. cit. supra n.2) or the extent to which the conflict of laws rules of the forum are designed to make decisions workable in an international context (Kahn-Freund. The Growth of Internationalism in English Private International Law (1960)).

13. Lagarde, Recherches sur l'ordre public en droil international privé (1959).

14. E.g. Chemins de fer portugais v. Ash, S. 1945.1. 77, note Niboyet: Rohman v. Keller-hals. Clunet 1936.399. note Perroud; Sommer v. Mayer. Rev. Crit. 1955. 133, note Motulsky; Klopp v. Holder, Rev. Crit. 1985.131, note Mezgar; Communauté urbaine de Casablanca v. Société Degremont. Rev. Crit. 1994. 680. note Cohen. And in the doctrine, e.g. Lagarde. “L'ordre public international face à la polygamie et à la répudiation”. Mél. F. Rigaux (1993), p.263.Google Scholar

15. E.g. Teretschenko v. Teretschenko, Rev. dr. int. pr. 1924. 401, 402.

16. Cts Houston v. Sté Turner Entertainment Co., Rev. Crit. 1991. 752, note Gautier, J.C.P. 1991. II. 21731. obs. Françon.

17. Audit, Droit International Privé (1991), pp.91 et seq.Google Scholar

18. Mayer. Droit International Privé (1987), p.355 in fine.Google Scholar

19. I do not here enter into the question whether there is any difference between these laws and the “loi de police”. The ideas attendant on both categories are in essence the same, and the term “loi de police” may be used to cover them all.

20. Art.3, French Civil Code.

21. See e.g. Ph. Francescakis, Rev. Crit. 1966. 1.

22. North, and Fawcett, . Cheshire and North's Private International Law (12th edn, 1992). p. 137.Google Scholar

23. Dicey and Morris, op. cit. supra n.10, at pp.2125.Google Scholar

24. E.g. s.27(2) of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977; Art.7(2) of the Rome Convention of 1980.

25. See Art. 12 of the Preliminary Provisions to the Italian Civil Code of 1865, drafted by Mancini: “In spite of the previous sections, in no way may Statutes, Acts and decisions of a foreign state and private commitments and conventions, derogate from the Kingdom's statutory prohibitions concerning people, goods and acts, nor to Statutes and Acts concerning public policy and good morals.”

26. The Italian Civil Code was amended in 1942 and the new version of Art. 12, now Art.31. is more akin to Savigny's view of public policy: “Notwithstanding the preceding provisions, in no circumstances may Statutes and Acts of a foreign State, regulations and Acts of any body or entity, and in general unilateral commitments and contracts, be effective in the territory of the State, if they are in conflict with public policy or good morals.”

27. See e.g. Art.16 of the Rome Convention of 1980; s.9(2) of the Administration of Justice Act 1920; s.4(1)(a)(v) of the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933; Art.27(1) of the Brussels Convention of 1968: s.5(3) of the Arbitration Act 1975, implementing Art.5(2)(b) of the New York Convention of June 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

28. E.g. Case Concerning the Application of the Convention of 1902 Governing the Guardianship of Infants (Netherlands v. Sweden I.C.J. Rep. 1958, 55, 92.)

29. Cf. Lenoan. D. 1958. 265, 266.

30. Cited in Batiffol and Lagarde, op. cit. supra n.10. at p.568.Google Scholar

31. E. g. Nygh, , Conflict of Laws in Australia (1976) p.203, suggesting that the courts have been guilty of applying public policy “in an unthinking manner”.Google Scholar

32. North and Fawcett. op. cit. supra n.22. at p. 133.Google Scholar

33. Carter (1984) 55 B.Y.I.L. 111. 126.

34. Batiffol, and Lagarde, . Traité de droit international privé (7th edn), Vol.I., para.360. (This para, does not appear in the 8th edn of 1993.)Google Scholar

35. Dicey and Morris, op. cit. supra n.10. at p.88.Google Scholar

36. “In general the domain of public policy is narrower in the legal systems of the United Kingdom than is the domain of ordre public in continental systems”: Anton, A. E. and Beaumont, P. R.. Private International Law (2nd edn. 1990), p.102.Google Scholar See also Carter, “The Rôle of Public Policy in English Private International Law” (1993) 42 I.C.L.Q. 1, 3; Husserl, “Public Policy and Ordre Public” (1938–39) Va.L.R. 37. 47 et seq.

37. In countries where the common law and civil law systems operate side by side a similar discrepancy in scope is noticeable. Thus “In the common law provinces of Canada very seldom has public policy been invoked in the courts with success as this exception has been construed narrowly”: Castel. op. cit. supra n.11. at p.164.Google Scholar

38. Carter, loc. cit. supra n.36.

39. ibid.

40. Dicey and Morris, op. cit. supra n.10, at p.89.Google Scholar

41. Dame Th. v. Epoux T., Clunet 1981. 66, note Foyer.

42. Cressot v. Mme Cozma, Rev. Crit. 1988. 540, note Lequette.

43. Art.1 of Law 64–689 of 8 July 1964 and Art.6 of the Law of 11 Mar. 1957.

44. Cts Huston v. Sté Turner Entertainment Co., J.C.P. 1991. II. 21731, obs. Françon.

45. See e.g. Teretschenko v. Teretschenko. Rev. dr. int. pr. 1924. 401; Hage v. Hage, D. 1959. 47, note Malaurie: Kaci v. Hammache, Rev. Crit. 1984. 451, note Labrusse-Riou; Société Thoresen Car Ferries Lid v. Fasquel, Rev. Crit. 1989. 63, note Lyon-Caen; Cie Air Afrique v. Coulon. D. 1992 I.R. 214.

46. Such as Belgium. Cf. G. van Hecke, “Notes Critiques sur la Théorie de la Non-justicia-bilité”. in Mél. F. Rigaux (1993), p.517. at p.521.Google Scholar

47. Dicey and Morris, op. cit. supra n.10, at p.89.Google Scholar

48. S. 1878. I. 429.

49. D.P. 1912. I. 262, rapp. Denis, S. 1913. I. 105.

50. Cf. Camera v. Camera, Rev. Crit. 1993. 41; X. v. Y., D. 1993. Jurisp. 85 (accepting renvoi which leads to the application of French law).

51. National rules do not apply to foreign judgments entitled to recognition and enforcement under the Brussels Convention of 1968 (as amended) on Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments.

52. E.g. Bairouk v. Essoudy. Rev. Crit. 1984.327, note Fadlallah: Akla v. Akla, Rev. Crit. 1991. 594, note Courbe.

53. Middleton v. Middleion [1967] P. 62. 69; Adams v. Cape Industries [1991] 1 All E.R. 981.

54. See generally Audit. La Fraude à la loi (1974).

55. Fawcett. “Evasion of Law and Mandatory Rules in Private International Law” (1990) C.L.J. 44.

56. See e.g. Fatma Kaci v. Hamache J.C.P. 1956. II. 9318. note Guiho (where the talak was pronounced by proxy in the foreign country): Rohbi v. Kharkouch, Rev. Crit. 1984. 325; Bairouk. supra n.52. See also Quazi v. Quazi [1980] A.C. 744. Of course Muslim men are not the only ones guilty of evasion of law: see e.g. Russel v. Weiller.S. 1951. 187.

57. Chaudhary v. Chaudhary [1985] Fam. 19: talak divorce obtained in Pakistan though husband and wife were domiciled in England.

58. Senoussi v. Senoussi, Rev. Crit. 989. 721, note Sinay-Cystermann. See also Akla, supra n.52.

59. See generally Yntema, “The Comity Doctrine” (1966) 65 Mich.L.R. 9.

60. Story, Conflict of Laws (8th edn. 1883), s.38.

61. See however Meijers (1934) III Hag. Rec. 653 et seq.

62. Dicey and Morris, op. cit. supra n.10, at p.6: North and Fawcett. op. cit. supra n.22, at p.4; McClean, Morris, : The Conflict of Laws (4th edn, 1993), p.4: Mann. Foreign Affairs in English Courts (1986). p.135.Google Scholar

63. E.g. Weinberg, “Against Comity” (1991) 80:53 Georgetown L.J. 53: Sprague, “Choice of Law: A Fond Farewell to Comity and Public Policy” (1986) 74 Cal.L.Rev. 1447.

64. More recently, Hewitson v. Hewitson [1995] 2 W.L.R. 287. 292.

65. Cf. Smith, . Conflict of Laws (1993). pp.295296; Batiffol and Lagarde. op. cit. supra n.10, at para.226.Google Scholar

66. Schibsby v. Westenholz (1870) L.R. 6 Q.B. 155. 159 (per Blackburn J).

67. Holmes v. Bangladesh Binam Corp. [1989] A.C. 1112. 1126 et seq.

68. Garthwaite v. Garthwaite [1964] P. 356. 389.

69. “English courts are normally confined to examining the statutes giving effect to a treaty or international convention, and precluded from scrutinising the treaty itself. But where public policy and international comity are invoked… it is permissible (indeed, incumbent) to examine our formal international obligations”: The Atlantic Star [1974] A.C. 436. 471–472 (per Lord Simon).

70. James Buchanan v. Babco [1977] 1 All E.R. 518. 529.

71. Hultet v. The King of Spain (1828) 2 Bligh N.S. 31. 60. See also United States of A merica v. Wagner (1867) L.R. Ch.App. 582.

72. The Sapphire (1871) 78 U.S. (11 Wall) 164.

73. In re Arton [1895] 1 Q.B. 108. 111.

74. ibid.

75. Idem, pp.110–111. Where the friendly sovereign power is a member of the British Commonwealth the reasoning applies a fortiori: Zacharia v. Government of Cyprus [1963] A.C. 634, 639. See also Royal Government of Greece v. Governor of Brixton Prison, ex p. Kotronis [1971 ] A.C. 250.

76. Buck v. Attorney General [1965] 1 Ch. 745. Cf. British Nylon Spinners Ltd v. I.C.I. [1953] Ch. 19, 24.

77. Oppenheimer v. Cattermole [1976] A.C. 249, 282.

78. Vitkovice Horni v. Korner [1951] A.C. 869, 882.

79. Amin Rasheed Corporation v. Kuwait Insurance [1984] A.C. 50, 59. See also The Elli [1985] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 107, 119.

80. See e.g. The Atlantic Star [1973] Q.B. 364. 381–382 (per Lord Denning MR); [1974] A.C. 436, 453 (per Lord Reid).

81. The Abidin Daver [1984] A.C. 398, 411, 412 (per Lord Diplock).

82. Cf. Interdisco v. Nullifire [1992] Lloyd's Rep. 180, 186.

83. North and Fawcett, op. cit. supra n.22, at p.130.Google Scholar

84. Holman v. Johnson (1775) 1 Cowp. 341, 343.

85. (1835) 2 Cr.M.& R. 311.

86. Idem, p.313. See also Sharp v. Taylor (1848) 2 Ph. 801, 816 (per Lord Cottenham LC).

87. Ralli Brothers v. Campariia Naviera Sota y Aznar [1920] 2 K.B. 287. 300; Foster v. Driscoll [1929] 1 K.B. 470, 518.

88. Regazzoni v. K.C. Sethia (1944) Ltd [1958] A.C. 301. 322; Euro-Diam v. Banhurst [1988] 2 All E.R. 20, 33.

89. British & Foreign Marine Insurance v. Samuel Sanday [1916] 1 A.C. 650, 672 (per Lord Wrenbury).

90. In Boucher v. Lawson (1734) Cas. T. Hard. 85. Lord Hardwicke LCJ upheld a contract which involved the violation of the law of Portugal, saying (at p.89) that “if it should be laid down, that because goods are prohibited to be exported by the laws of any foreign country from whence they are brought, therefore the parties should have no remedy or action here, it would cut off all benefit of such trade from this kingdom, which will be of very bad consequence to the principal and most beneficial branches of our trade; nor does it ever seem to have been admitted”.Google Scholar

91. Ralli Brothers and Foster v. Driscoll, both supra n.87; De Beéche v. South American Stores (Gath & Chaves) Ltd [1935] A.C. 148, 156.

92. Regazzoni v. Sethia [1958] A.C. 301, 319. Even in criminal prosecutions, it has recently been decided (R. v. Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court, ex p. Bennett [1994] A.C. 42) that where the defendant in a criminal matter has been brought back to the UK in breach of international law and the laws of the Stale where he had been found, the English court will, partly in the interests of “the comity of nations” (at p.76). take cognisance of these circumstances and refuse to try the defendant.Google Scholar

93. However, Jean Jacques Foelix is said to have adopted Joseph Story's comity approach in his Traité de Droit International Privé published in 1843: Nadelmann, “The Comity Doctrine” (1966) 65 Mich.L.R. 1. 5.

94. In one case (Clegert v. République Democratique de Viet-Nam. Lexis 2 Nov. 1971) the Cour de cassation was of the view that the principle of sovereign immunity is based on “la courtoisie Internationale”.

95. E.g. Dicey and Morris, at p.6. and Batiffol and Lagarde. at p.384 (both op. cit. supra n.10).Google Scholar

96. Loucks v. Standard Oil Co. (N.Y. 1918) 120 N.E. 198. 201–202.

97. E.g. Cavers. “A Critique of the Choice of Law Problem” (1933) 47 Harv.L.R. 173, 183. n.20.

98. Rev. Crit. 1978. 110, note Lequette.

99. In French law a child is presumed to have been conceived at least 180 days and at most 300 days before its birth: Art.311. Civil Code.

100. Demoiselle Domino v. Vve Ginesty. Clunet 1967. 614. note Malaurie; Quang Vinh v. Delle Ngo Mai Kahnh. idem, p.619. Though the requirements of French public policy on this matter might have been modified since the reforms of 1972 which repealed the old Art.335 of the Civil Code which contained the prohibition against the voluntary acknowledgement of paternity of adulterine children.

101. Rohmann v. Kellerhals, Clunet 1936. 399. Rev. Crit. 1935. 768; Sommer v. Mayer, Rev. Crit. 1955. 133. note Motulsky; Cruel v. Melichova. Clunet 1959. 120, note Bredin: M. v. S., J.C.P. 1974. II. 17894, note Foyer.

102. The plurium concubentium defence is raised by the alleged father when he shows that during the legal period of conception the mother had or was having sexual relations with a person or persons other than him.

103. See e.g. Numez Fernandez v. Lopez Rodriguez, Rev. Crit. 1974. 93. note Foyer et Simon-Depitre: L. v. Office de la jeunesse de Vocklabruck. Rev. Crit. 1979. 603, note Simon-Depitre.

104. D.P. 1930. 113, note Savatier: S. 1931. 1. 9. note Niboyet.

105. Law 72–3 of 3 Jan. 1972.

106. Art.331. Civil Code.

107. Gaz. Pal. 1988. 1. 321. note Massip.

108. S. v. S., Gaz. Pal. 1981. II. 778, note Massip: Hublin v. Demoiselle Martone. Rev. Crit. 1985. 643, note Foyer; Clunet 1985. 906, note Simon-Depitre.

109. K. v. M., Rev. Crit. 1978. 110: B. v. L., Rev. Crit. 1980.83. note Lagarde; G. v. K., Rev. Crit. 1986. 313, note Lequette.

110. Civ. 1cr. 3 Nov. 1988, J.C.P. 1989. IV. 3.

111. M.L. v. Mme B., Rev. Crit. 1993. 620, note Foyer.

112. Dalrymple v. Dalrymple (1811) 2 Hag. Con. 54, 58.

113. Except, of course in cases of succession to real estate in England, in which case English law is applicable: Doe v. Vardill (1825) 5 B. & C. 439, (1835) 2 Cl. & F. 571, (1840) 7 Cl. & F. 895.

114. In re Bischoffsheim [1948] Ch. 79. 92.

115. In re Goodman's Trusts (1881) 17 Ch.D. 266. 298.

116. Nygh (1964) 13 I.C.L.Q. 39, 50.

117. R. v. Brentwood Superintendent Registrar of Marriages, ex p. Arias [1968] 3 W.L.R. 531, 538.

118. [1951] P. 404, 412 (emphasis supplied).

119. “Mutatis Mutandis,… that passage applies equally where questions of capacity to marry come under consideration”: Ex p. Arias, supra n.117. at p.537.Google Scholar

120. Cf. Lewis (1963) 12 I.C.L.Q. 298.

121. Carter (1984) 55 B.Y.B.I.L. 111, 127 and again in (1993) 42 I.C.L.Q. 1, 5.

122. [1978] 1 All E.R. 1.

123. Idem, p.12. See also Sabbagh v. Sabbagh [1985] F.L.R. 29. Public policy will, of course, be invoked to refuse recognition in extreme cases especially where non-recognition will not be inconsistent with the principle of comity. Thus in Kendall v. Kendall [1977] Fam. 208, Hollings J refused to recognise a Bolivian divorce. But he did so because the divorce was obtained by deception. He said (at p.214) that in these circumstances the principles of comity did not require recognition because if the Bolivian courts were apprised of the facts of the deception they would set aside the decree.

124. E.g. Franco-Moroccan Convention on Personal and Family Status and Judicial Cooperation, of 10 Aug. 1981 (Rev. Crit. 1983. 531); Franco-Algerian Convention of 27 Aug. 1964 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments (Rev. Crit. 1965. 784); Franco-Tunisian Convention of June 1972 (Rev. Crit. 1974, 392).

125. E.g. Chaoui v. El Madani. Rev. Crit. 1995. 103. note Déprez; M. v. A., Rev. Crit. 1993. 684, note Courbe; Akla v. Akla and Bairouk v. Essoudy, both supra n.52; Ferroudji v. Med-jani. Rev. Crit. 1981. 88. However, the talak has been recognised in some cases where recognition in France was being sought by the divorced wife: Dahar v. Benmaghni. Rev. Crit. 1981. 90; Bonereau v. El Amrani. idem, p.91; Vanquethem v. Belarbi, Idem. p.92. Otherwise, the talak remains contrary to French public policy: M. v, F. E. Rev. Crit. 1995. 569, note Déprez.

126. Austrian public policy is opposed to the recognition of unilateral repudiations: Ver-waltungsgerichtshof—14 May. Oester-Juristenzeitung. 1985. p.248. No.28. cited in Clunet 1991. 429. somm. Cf. in Belgium. Rigaux and Fallen. Droit International Privé (1993). para. 1062.Google Scholar

127. Russ v. Russ [1964] P. 312. See also Qureshi v. Qureshi [1972] Fam. 173, where it was said (at p. 198) that the earlier case of R. v. Hammersmith Registrar of Marriages [ 1917] 1 K. B. 634 which refused to recognise a talak divorce was now bad law.Google Scholar

128. Quazi v. Quazi [1980] A.C. 744, 782. The ghet of Jewish Rabbinical law is also recognised in England: Har-Shefi v. Har-Shefi (No.2) [1953] P. 220.Google Scholar

129. Carter (1993) 42 I.C.L.Q. 1, 3.

130. North and Fawcett. op. cit. supra n.22. at p.504.Google Scholar

131. [1929] 1 K.B. 470, 496.

132. De Wutz v. Hendricks (1824) 2 Bing. 314; Foster v. Driscoll [1929] 1 K.B. 470; De Beéche.supra n.91, at p.156; United City Merchants (Investments) Ltd v. Royal Bank of Canada [1982] 1 Q.B. 208: Lemenda Ltd v. African Middle East Co. [1988] Q.B. 448.Google Scholar

133. Regazzoni v. Sethia, supra n.88, at p.327.Google Scholar

134. Idem, pp.318–319. Such is the desire of the English courts to preserve the comity with other friendly States that the rule of public policy by which they take notice of the laws of foreign countries is said not to be “dependent on proof of universality or [even] reciprocity” (Idem, p.330).

135. E.g. The Playa Larga [1983] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 171.

136. For a similar use of public policy in France, see Seine. 2 July 1932, Rev. Crit. 1934. 770, note Niboyet (contract to supply money for a coup d'état in a foreign country); Favier v. Soc. Anderson, Rev. Crit. 1966. 264, note Louis-Lucas (arms trafficking).

137. Kahn-Freund. op. cit. supra n.12, at p.60.Google Scholar

138. [1986] 1 All E.R. 129. Criticised by F. A. Mann (1986) L.Q.R. 191.

139. R.S.C. Ord.18, r.19.

140. [1986] 1 All E.R. 129, 139.

141. Idem, p.136.

142. Idem, p.135. No distinction is made between nationals and non-nationals. However, it seems that it is unlawful in public international law for a State to seize the property of an alien without adequate, effective and prompt compensation: Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law (4th edn, 1990). p.532.Google Scholar

143. Re Helbert Wagg & Co. Ltd [1956] Ch. 323, 349.

144. [1921] 3 K.B.532.

145. Idem, pp.558–559.

146. Idem, p.559.

147. See also Princess Paley Olga v. Weisz [1929] 1 K.B. 718, Russian confiscatory decree recognised. Public policy will be used to refuse recognition to a foreign confiscatory decree only where, in addition to its confiscatory nature, it also violates human rights, as where a Nazi decree confiscated the property of Jews and, in addition, stripped them of their German nationality: Oppenheimer v. Cattermole [1976] A.C. 249, 282, 278, 265. The Nazi decree was unique in its barbarity and the UK was at war with Nazi Germany in 1941 when the decree was passed. These are exceptional circumstances which show that public policy will be invoked only in very rare cases.

148. Gaz. Pal. 1925. II. 167.

149. Gaz. Pal. 1926. I. 169.

150. Gaz. Pal. 1928. I. 497: Annual Digest (1927–29) 67.

151. Sté Potassas Ibericas v. Natham Bloch. Clunet 1939. 615: Kassab v. Crédit Foncier d'Algérie et de Tunisie and six other Cour de cassation decisions of the same day. 23 Apr. 1969, Bull. civ. 1969. I. 110–116: Havas v. Société la Dépeche quotidienne d'Algérie, idem, p.225: Alemany v. Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie Afrique. idem, p.227; Compagnie française de Crédit v. Société Établissements Atard. J. C. P. 1969. I. 15897; S. N. T. R. v. C.A.T.A., Rev. Crit. 1981. 524. note Lagarde: Sté Sonatrach v. Lung. Bull. civ. 1984. I. 81.

152. Cf. Association des aaionnaires de P. et consorts v. P. Bâle et P.S.A. Rev. Crit. 1995. 507. Audit (Swiss public policy). For Belgian public policy see Rigaux and Fallen, op. cil. supra n.126. at para. 1251.

153. Humbert v. Banque Nationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie Afrique, Bull. civ. I. 1969. 112; Crédit industriel et commercial v. Consorts Cora. Idem. p. 113; Sanchez v. Martinez, Bull. civ. I. 1970. 208; Société nationale Sonatrach v. Lung. J.C.P. 1979. II. 19086. concl. Gulphe.

154. Gaz. Pal. 1925. II. 167, 171.

155. Ex p. Arias, supra n.117. at p.537 (Swiss law was recognised even though it differed from English law and was unattractive to the English court).Google Scholar

156. Therefore when dealing with the recognition of foreign marriages, the English courts are extremely reluctant to refuse recognition (Nachimsom v. Nachimsom [1930] P. 217, 233; Cheni v. Cheni [1965] P. 85; Mohamet v. Knot [1969] 1 Q.B. 1) on grounds of public policy because in their view that would be discourteous since it entails criticising the marriage laws of a foreign State (Apt v. Apt [1948] P. 83, 87).Google Scholar

157. Cf. Batiffol and Lagarde. op. cit. supra n.10, at pp.573574.Google Scholar

158. Gaz. Pal. 1926. I. 169, 170.

159. Gaz. Pal. 1928. I. 497.

160. Luther v. Sagor [1921 ] 3 K.B. 532, 548. citing with approval the US Supreme Court in Oetjen v. Central Leather (1918)246 U.S. 297. where it was said (at p.303) that “Every sovereign state is bound to respect the independence of every other sovereign state, and the courts of one country will not sit in judgment of the acts of the government of another done within its own territory.”Google Scholar

161. Underhill v. Fernandez (1871) 168 U.S. 250. In Luther v. Sagor. ibid, sovereign immunity was part of the reason the court refused to invoke English public policy against the impugned Soviet legislation. Scrutton LJ conceded (at p.555) that “The case may be different where the sovereign state submits to the jurisdiction”. Cf. The Playa Larga [1983] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 171, 194.

162. Oetjen v. Central Leather (1918) 246 U.S. 297, 303–304, where it was also said (at p.304) that “To permit the validity of the acts of one sovereign State to be re-examined and perhaps condemned by the courts of another would very certainly imperil the amicable relations between governments and vex the peace of nations.”Google Scholar

163. [1921]3 K.B. 532, 548.

164. Idem, p.555.

165. In the US, International Association of Machinists v. OPEC (1981) 649 F.2d 1354, 1358: Alfred Dunhill of London v. Republic of Cuba (1976) 425 U.S. 682, 715.

166. Banco National de Cuba v. Sabbatino (1964) 376 U.S. 398, 428.

167. Banco National de Cuba v. Chemical Bank New York Trust (1984) 594 F.Supp. 1553, 1557.

168. Mann. op. cit. supra n.62, at p.176.Google Scholar

169. See e.g. Bank voor Handel v. Stafford [1953] 1 Q.B. 248, 265.

170. ibid.

171. Idem, p.266.

172. Oppenheimer v. Canermole [1976] A.C. 249, 277–278.

173. [1975] Q.B. 557, 572.

174. Idem, p.573.

175. Similarly, in the US. a suggestion akin to that of Lord Denning that the doctrine does not apply affirmatively but only when invoked as a defence has been specifically and stoutly rejected: Palicio v. Brush (1966) 256 F.Supp. 481, 489.

176. [1981] 3 W.L.R. 787, 803. But the doctrine will not avail a government which induces breaches of contract. Cf. The Playa Larga [1983] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 171, 194. Contrast, in the US. Liamco v. Libya (1980) 482 F.Supp. 1175, where the doctrine was applied to acts causing breaches of contract. It has since been suggested, however, that the doctrine should not apply to acta jure gestionis (Texas Trading and Milling Corp. v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) 647 F.2d 300, 316, note 38: Allied Bank International v. Banco Credito Agricola de Cartago (1983) F.Supp. 1440, 1443; Chisolm & Co. v. Bank of Jamaica (1986) F.Supp. 1393). particularly to acts causing breaches of contract (Behring International Inc. v. Imperial Iranian Air Force (1976) 475 F.Supp. 396; Outboard Marine Corp. v. Pezetel (1978) 461 F.Supp. 384; National American Corp. v. Federal Bank of Nigeria (1978) 448 F.Supp. 622, 641). But it has been said that compulsory acquisition will always be a governmental act and therefore not examinable (Carey v. National Oil Corp. (1975) 453 F.Supp. 1097, 1102; Hunt v. Mobil Oil Corp. (1977) 550 F.2d 68, 78).

177. Buttes v. Hammer [1981] 3 W.L.R. 787. See also in the US Occidental Petroleum Co. v. Buttes Gas (1972) 331 F.Supp. 92, 98–101: Occidental of U.A.Q. Inc. v. Cities Services Co. (1975) 396 F.Supp. 461, 468.

178. Buttes v. Hammer, idem, p.806.

179. Idem, p.804. In the US, by contrast, the act of State doctrine is expressly stated to be a judicial policy of restraint: Restatement (Revised). Foreign Relations Law of the United States, s.469 (Tent. Draft No.7,1986). cited with approval in Dayton v. Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (D.C. Cir. 1987) 834 F.2d 203, 206.

180. P. Herzog. “La théorie de l'Act of State dans le droit des États-Unis” Rev. Crit. 1982. 617, 639.

181. Mann, op. cit. supra n.62. at p. 164.Google Scholar

182. G. van Hecke. op. cit. supra n.46, at p.526.Google Scholar

183. Clunet 1939, 615.

184. Batiffol and Lagarde. op. cit. supra n.10, at pp.573574.Google Scholar

185. Niboyet. Rev. Crit. 1950. 139, 142.

186. Narbonne Frères v. S.E.M.P.A.C., J.C.P. 1972. II. 17223.

187. Palicio v. Brush (1966) 256 F.Supp. 481, 489.

188. (1947) 163 F.Supp. 246. The act of State doctrine also allowed laws institutionalising apartheid in South Africa to be given effect to in the US: New York Times v. City of New York Commission on Human Rights (1977) 362 N.Y.S. 2d. 321; 66 I.L.R. 301. Cf. Board of Trustees v. City of Baltimore (1989) 317 Md. 72.562 A.2d. 720, cert, denied (1990) 110 S.Ct. 1167; (1990) 49 Maryland L.Rev. 1029.

189. The State Department ultimately intervened and made clear its policy that the validity of Nazi persecutions should be examined: Bernstein v. Netherlandsche-Americaansche (1953) 117 F.Supp. 898: (1954) 210 F.2d 375.

190. See. however, Santo v. Illidge (1860) 8 C.B. (N.S.). 861 (upholding a contract to deliver slaves (under the law of Brazil) even though the slave trade was contrary to the laws and public policy of England).

191. [1983] 1 A.C. 145.

192. [1981] Fam. 77, 117.

193. Idem, p.124.

194. [1983] 1 A.C. 145, 164.

195. Osmar v. Procureur général près la cour d'appel de Paris, Rev. Crit. 1995. 308, note Lequette.

196. E.g. J. L. v. Office cantonal de la Jeunessede Tübingen, Rev. Crit. 1995.68, note Ancel; Bettan v. Simon, Rev. Crit. 1995. 362, note Cohen.

197. E.g. Riabouchinski v. Kiabouchinski, Rev. dr. int. 1924, 403; Valentinis v. Valentinis, Rev. Crit. 1959, 691. note Déprez, D. 1959, 51; Chemins de fer portugais v. Ash, S. 1945. I. 77, note J.-P. Niboyet.

198. E.g. the former Art.340 of the Civil Code: Rohman v. Kellerhals. Clunet 1936. 399, 400, note Perroud; Sommer v. Mayer, Rev. Crit. 1955. 133, 134. note Motulsky; Art.2252 of the Civil Code, Antunes v. Bakhayoko. Rev. Crit. 1981. 81. note Dayant.

199. E.g. Compagnie L'Union el le Phenix v. Dlle Beau. Gaz. Pal. 1990. panorama, p.184; GAN Incendie-Accidents, Daniel Dubois v. Pascals Marchot. Clunet 1991. 981. note Légier; Piccinelli v. Maxeiner. Clunet 1995. 122. note Légier.Google Scholar

200. D. 1993 Jurisp. 13, note Légier. Cour de Cassation refused to exclude foreign law on grounds of public policy because it was not shown that the foreign law was contrary to public policy in the international sense.

201. See text accompanying supra n.49.

202. Batiffol and Lagarde, op. cit. supra n.10. at pp.580584.Google Scholar

203. Rev. Crit. 1953. 412. note Batiffol.

204. E.g. Chemonni v. Chemouni, Rev. Crit. 1958. 110, note Jambu-Merlin; D. 1958. 265. note Lenoan; Clunet 1958. 776, note Ponsard: C.P.A.M. deSaint-Etiennev. Meguellati.J.C.P. 1990. IV. 171, recognising polygamous marriages contracted abroad.

205. E.g. Munzer v. Jacoby-Munzer. Clunet 1964. 302, note Goldman: R. v. R., Gaz. Pal. 1984. II. 20131: Klopp v. Holder. Rev. Crit. 1985. 131. note Mezgar; Le Crédit Lyonnais Bank Nederland v. Perretti. Rev. Crit. 1993. 664, note Gaudemet-Tallon.

206. Markesinis. op. cit. supra n.1. at p.1.Google Scholar

207. Bingham. op. cit. supra n.2, at p.515.Google Scholar

208. Dicey and Morris, op. cit. supra n.10. at p.88.Google Scholar

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