Advanced Civil Procedure: Conflict of Laws

Advanced Civil Procedure: Conflict of Laws - Professor John Parry

  • Course Number: LAW-110
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: This course builds on the first-year Civil Procedure class by addressing critical issues that arise when a dispute involves people or events in more than one state or country. For example, the plaintiff may have suffered an injury caused by an out-of-state product, or a person or business in one state breaches a contract with a person or business located in another state. Every time that a case touches more than one state or country, lawyers and judges must figure out which court should decide the case, what jurisdiction’s law applies, and how to enforce a judgment across state or national borders.


    These questions line up with three distinct sets of doctrines. (1) Choice of law: for cases in which the facts involve more than one state or country, what law will the court use to resolve the issues raised by the case? Courts have developed a variety of approaches, and litigators need to be familiar with these methods. (2) Jurisdiction over the litigants as well as the “prescriptive” jurisdiction of a state or nation to regulate conduct. (3) Recognition and enforcement in one state or country of judgments from another state or country — and without enforcement, a judgment is not worth much.

    Advanced Civil Procedure: Conflict of Laws is primarily a class about identifying these issues and gaining the knowledge and the skills necessary to resolve them. (Traditionally, the term “conflict of laws” describes the legal doctrines that address the problems created by the multi-state aspects of a case.) Although these issues arise in the context of civil procedure, the course inevitably touches on issues of federalism (how do states deal with their conflicting legal rules and what role does federal law play in multi-state disputes?) and sometimes on international law (because cases sometimes cross national borders, and international law also provides background rules).Disputes are rarely confined to a single state. People suffer injuries from out-of-state products, or they enter into (and possibly breach) contracts with people or businesses located across state lines. Every time a case involves more than one state or country, complications arise for the lawyers and judges who are working to resolve it. “Conflict of laws” is an umbrella term for the legal doctrines that lawyers and judges use to solve the problems that the multi-state aspects of a case create.

  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: Final exam and one or two short quizzes
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no