The public policy doctrine in the conflict of laws has been often characterised as uncertain and ambiguous. This article aims to examine the doctrine at common law from a theoretical perspective in order to: first, determine whether the substantive considerations which courts have invoked under the public policy doctrine are theoretically justifiable; second, discern principled boundaries around the courts’ exercise of the defence. Through a study of case law and an examination from first principles of the normative basis for the recognition of foreign laws and judgments, this article proposes a set of principles that can form the theoretical underpinning of the public policy doctrine, and will examine how the proposed principles can provide practical guidance to judges in their application of the public policy doctrine.

The above is an abstract from a forthcoming Article in the Journal of Private International Law (Forthcoming 2018). SSRN:


Kenny Chng

Singapore Management University

Kenny Chng is a Lecturer of Law at Singapore Management University. His areas of specialization include Constitutional & Administrative Law, Legal Theory, Conflict of Laws, and Contract Law.


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