“Private international law” is a term used to refer to the rules that apply in cases concerning individuals or entities, which have a foreign element – such as, for example, where a New Zealand company enters into a contract in the United States with a company registered there and a dispute arises about the contract. In such cases there may be issues about:
The rules of private international law are used to resolve these issues. In New Zealand, these rules are a combination of common law (made by the courts) and legislation. MFAT Legal Division is unfortunately not in a position to provide legal advice on private international law issues to members of the public.
The Hague Conference on Private International Law was established in 1893 to try and reach an internationally agreed set of rules on common situations where conflicts of laws arise. The Hague Conference has adopted over 35 treaties on a wide range of subjects. New Zealand is a party to three Hague Conference conventions, and became a member of the Conference on 5 November 2002. The Ministry of Justice is the National Office for New Zealand’s participation in the Hague Conference.