AN APPRAISAL OF THE ASCERTAINMENT OF APPLICABLE LAW OF TORTS IN CONFLICT OF LAWS

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ABSTRACT


This thesis entitled, “An Appraisal of the Ascertainment of Applicable Law of Torts in
Conflict of Laws” aimed at ascertaining the applicable law of torts in conflict of laws
situation in Nigeria by examining various rules that have been perfected to take care of
such processes based on choice of law approach, among the various rules. Traditionally,
most of the rules governing the ascertainment of applicable law of tort in conflict of
laws were more theoretical in nature, based mainly on the application of the Lex Fori,
Lex Loci deliciti, the proper law of the tort, characterization, and modern theories. Thus,
against this backdrop, the objective of this research is to identify the major aspects of
torts in the conflict of laws that formed the core of choice of law, with particular
reference to Nigeria and to further identify challenges involved there in. However, a
major finding of this research is that there are certain areas of conflict of laws where the
application of the rule in Phillips vs. Eyre (as the prevailing choice of law rule in
Nigeria) is unsuitable to the Nigerian circumstances. It is noted that the rules in Phillip
vs. Eyre and Boys vs Chaplin were designed or rather adopted when human
interactions, productions, means of communication and science and technology were
not advanced as today. In the comparative evaluation of the rules in the commonwealth
countries and in America, the writer laid more emphasis on the view point that have
practical relevance to each jurisdiction in order to satisfy the yearnings of a balanced
determination of conflicts emanating from frictions arising out of the natural contact
between individuals and interests.
Obviously, the statement of problem of this thesis
therefore suggested that there is uncertainty of the applicability of law of tort in conflict of laws
situation in Nigeria. In other words, where there is a case of tort involving foreign element in
Nigeria, the court in Nigeria is faced with the problem of which law is applicable? For example,
is it the forum law or the foreign law of torts that will apply? This uncertainty is caused by the
fact that there are several factors to be considered in order to arrive at a choice of the applicable
law. It is the existence of this problem that motivated this work. On this note, the researcher
concluded by recommending (among others) that,
the Nigerian legislatures, both the National
Assembly and States Assemblies, should enact a law that will take care of jurisdiction
and ascertainment of applicable law when the cause or matter has a foreign element. The
sources of information relied upon here are doctrinal method of acquiring data and information
was used, thereby, combining several documents, ranging from text books, journals, statutes and
other relevant treaties to accomplish this work.

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