Indian Journal of International Law

, Volume 58, Issue 1–2, pp 205–212 | Cite as

J.H.C. Morris, the proper law doctrine and the law of obligations: A critical appraisal

  • V. C. GovindarajEmail author


Courts in the common law world, more particularly in England and the United States, had recourse to the jurisdiction selection rule with respect to the law of obligations, in law of contracts and law of torts, till the first half of the twentieth century. Needless to say, they were under the influence of A.V. Dicey and J.H. Beale who advocated the jurisdiction selection rule. According to them the law to govern a foreign contract is the law of the country where it is to be performed. Similarly, the law to govern a foreign tort is the law of the country where the tort was committed. Professor Morris’ paper titled “The Proper Law of a Tort,” advocated the proper law doctrine in respect of the Law of Obligations. The proper law doctrine is the outcome of the combined effect of the “rule selection” rule of Professor Cavers of the Harvard Law School, and the issue-based approach of Professor Walter Wheeler Cook. Recourse to the proper law doctrine of Morris will in the case of a foreign contract produce, in his own words, “a commercially convenient and sound” result, and in the case of foreign tort a “socially convenient and sound” result.


Jurisdiction selection rule Proper law doctrine Rule selection Issue based approach Foreign Contracts Foreign Torts 

Copyright information

© The Indian Society of International Law 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus Professor, Faculty of LawUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

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