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Law of Insurance Contracts

Chapter 2 THE CONFLICT OF LAWS AND JURISDICTION 1 2-1 INTRODUCTION “ Contracts are incapable of existing in a legal vacuum. They are mere pieces of paper devoid of all legal effect unless they were made by reference to some system of private law which defines obligations assumed by the parties to the contract.” 2 This book is about English law, which is relevant chiefly when English law governs the contract, naturally when the contract is placed in a purely domestic sphere. Where there may be said to be an international element to the contract the parties may wish to choose English law. This chapter is concerned with identifying the law that governs the contract of insurance. It is also concerned with the distinct, although related, question as to jurisdiction; such term connotes the way in which one determines the most appropriate forum for dispute resolution. The current schemes for both conflict of law matters and for jurisdiction are the products of developments at an EU level. It may be thought that after the UK’s exit from the EU in 2020 change over the short term might be expected. Nevertheless, it is arguably in the interests of both the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States that the schemes remain, not least because they represent a coherent set of rules which have proven application. Pending clarification and resolution through the Brexit negotiations the commentary in this chapter is based on the assumption that the schemes will largely remain intact. That is the approach taken by the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations and Non-Contractual Obligations (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019 No 834).

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