Private International Law is that part of a law of a country which deals with cases having foreign element and usually comes into operation whenever courts are seized with such cases.
The term ‘foreign element ’ means any system of law prevailing outside the lex fori, that is, the local law of the place where the court is situated. It includes not only the law existing in a state under a foreign political sovereign but also the law prevailing in a sub division of a political state of which the forum is part. The law of England and any other law of a country outside Nigeria can be treated as a foreign law. The laws of Northern Nigeria can also be treated as foreign law in the Southern Nigeria. There is also the inter- state conflict of laws, a situation which arises due to the divergent laws in each state.
With the increasing international relationship around the world, conflicts are bound to arise. Municipal laws of a State, which were promulgated and enacted into law to guide her own affairs, differ from one country to the other. For example, the Nigerian Legal system has provisions different from English Legal system. Therefore, whenever a course of action arises between the two legal systems, and a decision is arrived at, such decision is referred to as the choice situation.
For the purpose of this long essay, we shall be examining issues like in cases of dispute involving two or more municipal laws, which law should prevail? How will a State’s attitude to foreign law affect its recognition and enforcement? Also, to what extent will the municipal court give effect within the domestic rules of international law, which are contrary to domestic law, in cases where two or more customary laws are applicable, for example, in Nigeria, which one should prevail?
All these and more shall be discussed in this essay.
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