Law School Resources
Conflict of Laws
A. The Nature
of the Subject – Conflict of laws concerns the
issues that arise from a dispute’s having contact
with more than one sovereign.
B. The Scope
of the Topic
over the person or property: this topic is covered
in AL civil litigation.
2. Choice of Law
a) *Interstate (and
international) choice of law – choose b/w laws of 2
b) Choosing b/w
federal and state law – this topic is covered in Civ
Pro and Con Law (Erie doctrine and supremacy
3. Recognition of
foreign Judgments – when one state/country enters
judgment, to what extent will other states/countries
II. Choice of Law – Introduction and Constitutional
Limits on Choice of Law Decisions
Introduction to Choice of Law
– when a court hears a case that involves parties
from or activities in more than one state, it must
decide which state’s law to apply. To make that
decision, it applies the choice of law doctrine of
the state in which the court sits.
B. Constitutional Limits on Choice of Law
a) Due Process (No
State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property without DP of law”) – applicable to the
choice of law context b/c choice of law is regulated
b) Full Faith and
Credit (“Full faith and credit shall be given in
each State to the public Act, Records, and judicial
proceedings of every other State.”) Requires each
state in the US to recognize decisions of all other
states (more than just judgments).
2. Early Cases – tests
for DP and FF&C have been abolished in favor of
3. Current test:
chosen state must have a significant contract or
aggregation of contracts, creating state interests,
such that choice of law is neither arbitrary nor
a) There are
constitutional limits on a state’s ability to
determine which state’s laws to apply, but this test
is pretty lenient.
b) Application of a
particular statute’s law is constitutional if
(1) There is contact
b/w the state and the case and
(2) Those contacts
must create an interest in the case. The test will
often permit any number of state law to apply.
Usually only will apply when state’s apply their own
law to a case touching many states. (even then,
III. Choice of Law Theories (Analytical Approaches)
A. The Array of Theories:
B. The Traditional First Restatement Approach:
“Vested Rights” and Territoriality –
still used in a
handful of states, including AL. Use choice of law
on all substantive issues.
1. The Concept:
we view a state’s
or country’s law as applying only within that
state/country’s boundaries. Otherwise, we apply the
law of the state where the COA came into existence.
Look for the last even that occurred in regard to
the COA: that is the state whose law applies.