International private law is a set of rules that regulates private relationships of citizens of different states. This right will state which courts are competent to solve conflicts and which law must be applied.
International private law is a branch of civil law, since it regulates only private relationships between natural and legal persons, without a public interest. We could say it is the civil law to be applied when there is a conflict in international private relations, that is to say between people from different countries.
This right arises from the need to harmonize solutions in a globalized world in which the presence of a set of differentiated legal systems creates the possible existence of legal relationships and situations that appear to be connected.
Hypothesis for the application of international private law
Different requirements must be satisfied to apply international private law rules. These requirements are:
1) – Internationality: it is necessary that people who need to solve their dispute or want to know which obligations and rights protect them have a different nationality. If people are from the same country, civil law will be applied.
2) – Private: this law will be applied only to private law relationships, that is to say relationships between natural persons in the strict sense, natural and legal persons, without a public interest.
International private law content
– International jurisdiction: this branch has the task of verifying that the judge or the court that will resolve an international private conflict has the competence to work on the case. It establishes rules for determining which courts and from which country they have jurisdiction
– Applicable law: it refers to the law applicable to the dispute raised. It establishes the rules for determining which law, from which country, must be applied. This will result in the application of a national law or a law from another country to solve the conflict.
– Recognition and enforcement of foreign decisions: what effects can be attributed to a judicial or extrajudicial decision from a foreign state.
Characteristics of international private law
Main characteristics of this law are:
– It is a private law, that is to say it regulates relationships between private citizens where there is no public interest.
– It can be applied both to natural or legal persons, as well as to public administrations when they act as private, as a counterparty.
– It is responsible for introducing a regulatory framework for private relationships that happen in anyday life between citizens and foreigners.
– Its main function is to define a framework of legal certainty so that people know which law, from which country, must be applied to them and to which tribunals they should address.
– Its purpose is to provide an adequate and fair response to problems citizens are exposed to, due to the existence of a plurality of independent legal systems which end up being linked by a specific relationship or legal situation.
– Its main sources are international agreements, EU regulations, directives and agreements, countries domestic law and transnational law.
International private law example
To better understand how international private law works, we can see the next example:
A company domiciled in Italy signs a contract with a company domiciled in Portugal to provide a service. The Portuguese company does not fulfill the contract within the established terms and the Italian company plans to report it for breach of contract.
It is a clear situation that respects the two conditions for the application of this law: internationality and private conflict. It is necessary to use international private law to state:
– Competent court: which court has jurisdiction? It can be Italian, Portuguese or another one, would it be valid to agree in the contract which courts of which country they would submit in case of conflict? International private law will provide all these solutions.
– Applicable law: which law can be applied to solve this conflict? It could be Spanish, French or another one, would it be valid to agree in the contract which law from which country must be applied in case of a dispute? International private law will provide all these solutions.
– Recognition: Will the sentence issued by the judge be recognized in other countries? All these solutions will be provided by international private law.