IGNORED NO MORE: RENVOI AND INTERNATIONAL TORTS LITIGATED IN AUSTRALIA

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Abstract:

On 3 December 2004 the High Court of Australia granted special leave to appeal in Neilson v Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria Ltd, in order to decide the scope in Australia of the doctrine of renvoi in private international law, and whether it has operation in tort. This paper examines these issues in light of the High Court's adoption of the lex loci delicti rule for international tort, expounded in Regie National des Usines Renault S. A. v Zhang, and the recent decision of the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in Mercantile Mutual Insurance (Australia) Ltd v Neilson & Ors. This article rejects the assertion by one recent commentator, that renvoi should operate in respect of international torts litigated in Australia because it is consistent with the lex loci delicti rule. By analysing the fundamental principles underlying the High Court's decision to espouse lex loci delicti, this article affirms the sound theoretical and practical objections to extending the renvoi doctrine to tort.
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