ILAP642-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

Private International Law

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


This course covers the choice of applicable law in private law disputes, the international jurisdiction of New Zealand courts in civil litigation, and the enforcement of foreign civil judgments in New Zealand.

Determining the applicable law and the appropriate forum where a dispute can brought are key steps in international commercial litigation as well as other private law disputes with an international element. This course is an introduction to the area of law dealing with these issues.

The terms private international law or conflict of laws are commonly used to describe the resolution of trans-jurisdictional (private law) legal disputes. We will look at the main issues relating to choice of law and international procedural law in commercial or other civil litigation.

As regards international procedural law, we will look at the international jurisdiction of New Zealand courts for international civil disputes, the enforcement of foreign judgments, and selected issues of international arbitration and its interaction with New Zealand conflict of laws.

As regards choice of law, we will examine how New Zealand courts and, if relevant, foreign courts determine the law governing particular disputes. In particular, we will look at the choice of law for personal status and family law matters, the law governing contractual and extra-contractual claims, and choice of law for equitable doctrines.

During the course of this class, we will look at the impact of statutory enactments on common law conflict rules. Comparatively, we will also look at conflict-of-laws developments in other jurisdictions, in particular, outside the common law area, the EU, which had an impact on the development of conflict of laws globally.

Going beyond the strict definition of the term private international law, we will also look at how conflict-of-laws principles apply where the potentially applicable laws governing a dispute do not come from different jurisdictions but where different laws apply within one jurisdiction and their selection and/or application depends on something other than a traditional sovereignty-based territorial connecting factor.

Learning Outcomes

  • On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
  •  Identify and explain the methodology of choice of law, i.e. how courts tackle the determination of applicable law;
  •  Identify and explain what main rules govern the determination of the applicable law in selected areas of private law;
  •  Identify and explain the principles at play to determine whether a New Zealand court has international jurisdiction over a dispute;
  •  Identify and explain the main rules governing the enforcement of foreign judgments or international arbitration awards in New Zealand;
  •  Identify the normative justification behind the rules governing choice of law, international jurisdiction, and enforcement of foreign judgments;
  •  Communicate the extent of their knowledge and understanding;
  •  Use their understanding of the normative foundations of conflict of laws for critical analysis of the law;
  •  Work independently and manage their time in order to meet course deadlines.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to the approval of the Programme Director


Course Coordinator

For further information see Faculty of Law Head of Department

Textbooks / Resources

At the moment, there is no recent comprehensive textbook on New Zealand Private International Law. It is expected that a textbook will be published by 2019: Maria Hook and Jack Wass, The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand (LexisNexis, 2019). In that case, the book will be adapted as the essential textbook for the course.

Learning materials - case law and articles – will be made available via LEARN, with complimentary study questions to allow you to focus on the key aspects of the reading material.

You also might want to subscribe or keep up with the following blogs:
•  The Conflict of Laws in New Zealand: News and Comment; and
•  ConflictOfLaws.Net

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $962.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All ILAP642 Occurrences

  • ILAP642-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019