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The objectives of international private law

Globalisation, the importance of international migratory flows and the free movement of people, services, goods and capital within the internal market of the European Union, lead to situations which are linked to several legal systems, for which prerogatives must be clarified.

This is the objective of international private law. By implementing conflict of jurisdiction rules and conflict of law rules, private international law makes it possible to determine the competent jurisdiction in an international dispute and the applicable law. This branch of law is intended to intervene when a private situation is international, that is to say when it presents a foreign element. The foreign element may be the nationality of one or more parties, the place where the damage occurred, the place of the registered office of a company, the place of residence of the parties, etc. The situation must also concern relations between private persons (whether they are legal persons or natural persons) or between countries when they act as private persons.

The core of private international law consists of the rules of conflict of jurisdictions (which make it possible to determine the jurisdiction of a judge in an international dispute and to determine the conditions for the recognition and enforcement of foreign decisions) and the rules of conflict of laws (which make it possible to determine the law applicable to a dispute that may be linked to several legal orders).

As for the sources of private international law, they have been significantly updated in the light of the Europeanisation of private international law and the expansion of international conventions on private international law, in particular those drawn up within the confines of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

The implementation of the rules of private international law therefore supposes a perfect mastery of the European and international sources of law (European Union regulations, international conventions) and of the rules allowing their hierarchy between them and with the internal sources of law (law, jurisprudence). A good knowledge of the jurisprudence of the European courts (European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights) is also essential to allow a good application of European and domestic sources of private international law.