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I.

Definition, Nature, Scope and Sources of Private


International Law
A. Meaning of “Foreign Law”

B. Brief History and Development of Private International


Law

C. Sources of Private International Law

D. Private International Law vs. Public International Law

II. Jurisdiction

A. Definition

Hasegawa, et al. vs. Kitamura, G.R. No. 149177,


November 23, 2007

Conflict of Laws; In the judicial resolution of conflicts problems,


three consecutive phases are involved: jurisdiction, choice of law,
and recognition and enforcement of judgments.—
To elucidate, in the judicial resolution of conflicts problems, three
consecutive phases are involved: jurisdiction, choice of law, and
recognition and enforcement of judgments.
Corresponding to these phases are the following questions:
(1) Where can or should litigation be initiated?
(2) Which law will the court apply? and
(3) Where can the resulting judgment be enforced?

Jurisdiction and choice of law are two distinct concepts—


jurisdiction considers whether it is fair to cause a defendant to
travel to this state, choice of law asks the further question whether
the application of a substantive law which will determine the
merits of the case is fair to both parties— the power to exercise
jurisdiction does not automatically give a state constitutional
authority to apply forum law.
Analytically, jurisdiction and choice of law are two distinct
concepts. Jurisdiction considers whether it is fair to cause a
defendant to travel to this state; choice of law asks the further
question whether the application of a substantive law which will
determine the merits of the case is fair to both parties.
The power to exercise jurisdiction does not automatically give a
state constitutional authority to apply forum law. While
jurisdiction and the choice of the lex fori will often coincide, the
“minimum contacts” for one do not always provide the necessary
“significant contacts” for the other.
The question of whether the law of a state can be applied to a
transaction is different from the question of whether the courts of
that state have jurisdiction to enter a judgment.

It should be noted that when a conflicts case, one involving a


foreign element, is brought before a court or administrative
agency, there are three alternatives open to the latter in disposing
of it:
(1) dismiss the case, either because of lack of jurisdiction or
refusal to assume jurisdiction over the case;
(2) assume jurisdiction over the case and apply the internal law
of the forum; or
(3) assume jurisdiction over the case and take into account or
apply the law of some other State or States.

The court’s power to hear cases and controversies is derived from


the Constitution and the laws. While it may choose to recognize
laws of foreign nations, the court is not limited by foreign
sovereign law short of treaties or other formal agreements, even
in matters regarding rights provided by foreign sovereigns.

B. Types of Judicial Jurisdiction and Bases for its Exercise


Judiciary Act of 1948;
De Joya vs. Judge Placido C. Marquez, G.R. No. 162416, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 as amended by Rep. Act 7691
January 31, 2006

A person is not entitled to seek relief from the Supreme Court nor Perkins vs. Roxas, G.R. No. 47517, June 27, 1941
from the trial court where he continuously refuses to surrender and
submit to the courtÊs jurisdiction.·
In addition, it may not be amiss to note that petitioner is not MEANING OF JURISDICTION OVER SUBJECT MATTER;
entitled to seek relief from this Court nor from the trial court as ADJUDICATION OF TlTLE TO CERTAIN SHARES OF STOCK.·By
he continuously refuses to surrender and submit to the court’s jurisdiction over the the subject matter is meant the nature of the
jurisdiction. Justice Florenz D. Regalado explains the requisites cause of action and of the relief sought, and this is conferred by
for the exercise of jurisdiction and how the court acquires such the sovereign authority which organizes the court, and is to be
jurisdiction, thus: x x x sought for in the general nature of its powers, or in authority
Requisites for the exercise of jurisdiction and how the court specially conferred. The respondent's action calls for the
acquires such jurisdiction: adjudication of title to certain shares of stock of the Benguet
Consolidated Mining Company, and the granting of affirmative
a. Jurisdiction over the plaintiff or petitioner: reliefs, which fall within the general jurisdiction of the Court of
This is acquired by the filing of the complaint, petition First Instance of Manila.
or initiatory pleading before the court by the plaintiff or
petitioner.
b. Jurisdiction over the defendant or respondent:
This is acquired by the voluntary appearance or
submission by the defendant or respondent to the
court or by coercive process issued by the court to
him, generally by the service of summons.

1. Jurisdiction over the Subject Matter – Reyes vs. Diaz, G.R. No. L-48754, November 26, 1941
Rule 14, Secs. 6 & 7, 1997 Rules of Court
Jurisdiction over the subject-matter is the power to hear and
determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in Section 6. Service in person on defendant. — Whenever
question belong and is conferred by the sovereign authority practicable, the summons shall be served by handling a copy
which organizes the court and defines its powers thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive and
The question, therefore, of whether a court has jurisdiction over sign for it, by tendering it to him. (7a)
the subject-matter, calls for interpretation and application of the
law of jurisdiction which distributes the judicial power among
the different courts in the Philippines, and since the ruling on the Section 7. Substituted service. — If, for justifiable causes, the
matter is of far-reaching consequences, affecting, as it may, the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided
very life and structure of our judicial system, the law has deemed in the preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving
it wise to place the power and authority to act thereon in the copies of the summons at the defendant's residence with some
highest court of the land. person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b)
by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular place of
business with some competent person in charge thereof. (8a)

Pantaleon vs. Asuncion, G.R. No. L-13141, May 22, 1959

ACTIONS IN PERSONAM; JURISDICTION OVER DEFENDANT, How


ACQUIRED.·In an action strictly in personam, like the case at bar,
personal service of summons, within the forum, is essential to the
acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, who
does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court.
Summons by publication cannot confer upon the court
jurisdiction over said defendant.

Gemperle vs. Schenker, G.R. No. L-18164, January 23,


2. Jurisdiction over the Person (Plaintiff & Defendant) – 1967
SUMMONS; SERVICE BY AN OFFICER WHO IS NOT AUTHORIZED
Summons; Acquisition of jurisdiction upon nonresident BY THE COURT; EFFECT OF.·Service of the summons by a police
defendant through service of summons upon attorneyin-fact. sergeant who was not a sheriff or a court officer, and who was not
·Where a Swiss citizen, residing in Switzerland, was served with authorized by the court to deliver the summons, violates the
summons through his wife, who was residing here and who was provisions of Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court; hence,
his representative and attorney-in-fact in a prior civil case, which irregular.
was apparently filed, in the Rizal Court of First Instance, at her
behest in her aforementioned capacity, the lower court acquired ID.; ID.; SUBSTITUTED SERVICE; SERVICE TO A MINOR.·A minor,
jurisdiction over the nonresident husband by means of the said 12 years of age and a grade four pupil, is not of suitable age and
service of summons. As the wife had authority to sue, and had discretion to be entrusted with so important document as a court
actually sued in behalf of her nonresident husband, so she was summons. Service of the summons to said minor does not
also empowered to represent him in suits filed against him, constitute a valid substituted service in accordance with Section
particularly in a case which is a consequence of the action 8, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court.
brought by her in his behalf.

Sequito vs. Letrondo, G.R. No. L-11588, July 20, 1959 Jaranilla vs. Gonzales, G.R. No. L-5629, October 11, 1954
PARTIES; NECESSARY PARTIES; HUSBAND IS NOT A NECESSARY
PARTY IN A CONTROVERSY INVOLVING PARAPHERNAL In this jurisdiction, with respect to actions in personam, as
PROPERTY.·In a controversy involving the paraphernal property distinguished from actions in rem, a foreign judgment merely
of the wife, the husband is not a necessary party. constitutes prima facie evidence of the justness of the claim of a
party and, as such, is subject to proof to the contrary. ·While this
ID.; SUMMONS; ALLEGED ERRONEOUS SERVICE OF SUMMONS Court has given the effect of res judicata to foreign judgments in
SHOULD BE RAISED BEFORE JUDGMENT IS RENDERED; FAILURE several cases, it was after the parties opposed to the judgment
TO RAISE POINT IS WAIVER OF RIGHT TO QUESTION LACK OF had been given ample opportunity to repel them on grounds
SERVICE; VOLUNTARY APPEARANCE BY ATTORNEY allowed under the law. It is not necessary for this purpose to
EQUIVALENT TO SERVICE.·If the duly appointed guardian ad initiate a separate action or proceeding for enforcement of the
litem, who is the mother of the minors, did not consider the foreign judgment. What is essential is that there is opportunity to
summons served on her alone as a summons also on her minor challenge the foreign judgment, in order for the court to properly
children, or if she did not authorize her attorneys to represent determine its efficacy. This is because in this jurisdiction, with
her minor children, she should have raised the question in the respect to actions in personam, as distinguished from actions in
case before or during the trial or thereafter but before judgment rem, a foreign judgment merely constitutes prima facie evidence
was rendered. The failure of the guardian ad litem and of her of the justness of the claim of a party and, as such, is subject to
attorneys to raise the point of lack of service of summons upon proof to the contrary.
the minors personally is a waiver on the part of said minors
represented by their mother, their guardian ad litem, to question Same; Same; A foreign judgment is valid and enforceable in the
the lack of such service upon them personally. And the voluntary Philippines if there is no showing that it was vitiated by want of
appearance of the attorneys in behalf of the defendants is notice to the party, collusion, fraud or clear mistake of law or fact.
equivalent to service (section 23, Rule 7, Rules of Court). ·Thus, in the case of General Corporation of the Philippines v.
Union Insurance Society of Canton, Ltd., which private respondents
invoke for claiming conclusive effect for the foreign judgment in
their favor, the foreign judgment was considered res judicata
because this Court found „from the evidence as well as from
appellantEÊ s own pleadings‰ that the foreign court did not make
a „clear mistake of law or fact‰ or that its judgment was void for
want of jurisdiction or because of fraud or collusion by the
defendants. Trial had been previously held in the lower court and
only afterward was a decision rendered, declaring the judgment
of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington to have the effect
of res judicata in the case before the lower court. In the same vein,
in Philippine International Shipping Corp. v. Court of Appeals, this
Court held that the foreign judgment was valid and enforceable in
the Philippines there being no showing that it was vitiated by
want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud or clear mistake of
law or fact. The prima facie presumption under the Rule had not
been rebutted.

Same; Same; Res Judicata; Court of Appeals erred to summarily


rule that petitionersÊ action is barred by the principle of res
judicata.·It was error therefore for the Court of Appeals to
summarily rule that petitionersEÊ action is barred by the principle
of res judicata. Petitioners in fact questioned the jurisdiction of
the U.S. court over their persons, but their claim was brushed
aside by both the trial court and the Court of Appeals.

Same; Same; Actions; While it is within the discretion of the trial


court to abstain from assuming jurisdiction on the ground of forum
non conveniens, it should do so only after vital facts are established
to determine whether special circumstances require the courtÊs
desistance.·Nor is the trial courtEÊ s refusal to take cognizance of
the case justifiable under the principle of forum non conveniens.
First, a motion to dismiss is limited to the grounds under Rule 16,
§1, which does not include forum non conveniens. The propriety
of dismissing a case based on this principle requires a factual
determination, hence, it is more properly considered a

3. Jurisdiction over the Res –


Philsec Investment, et al vs. CA, GR No. 103493, June 19,
1997 Pennoyer vs. Neff, 95 US 714 (1878)
Mullane vs. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., Trustee, et
al., 399 US 306 (1950)
Shaffer vs. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186 (1977)

4. Jurisdiction over the Issues of the Case

De Joya vs. Judge Placido C. Marquez, G.R. No.


162416, supra.
Reyes vs. Diaz, G.R. No. L-48754, supra.
Bernabe vs. Vergara, G.R. No. L-48652, September
16, 1942

C. Service of Summons

1. Personal Service or Substituted Service – Rule 14, Sec. 6 &


7, 1997 Rules of Court

Pantaleon vs. Asuncion, supra.

2. Service by Publication – Rule 14, Sec. 15, 1997 Rules of


Court

3. Extraterritorial Service – Rule 15, Sec. 15, 1997 Rules of


Court

Davao Light vs. CA, G.R. No. 93262, December 29, 1991

D. Ways of Dealing with a Conflicts of Law Problem

1. Dismiss the Case

i. Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens

Heine vs. New York Insurance Company, 45 F2d


426 (1940)
In re: Union Carbide Corporation, 634 F. Supp.
842 (S.D.N.Y. 1986)
First Philippine International Bank vs. CA, G.R.
No. 115849, January 24, 1996
Manila Hotel Corp. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 120077,
October 13, 2000
Hasegawa, et al. vs. Kitamura, supra. (2007)

2. Assume Jurisdiction

Hasegawa, et al. vs. Kitamura, supra. (2007)

i. Application of Internal Law

ii. Application of Foreign Law


 Theories on the Application of Foreign Law

Fleumer vs. Hix, G.R. No. L-32636, March 17, 1930


Philippine Trust Co vs. Bohanan, G.R. No. L-12105,
January 30, 1960