Private International Law


Private International Law (Conflict of Laws) is the legal subject which studies cases having relevant connections with different systems of law.

Private International Law is a fundamental subject for students who are interested in the international field of law. Private International Law deals with the regulation of international situations via the conflict of laws rules.

Accordingly, the course includes a general part involving the general theory of conflict of laws, and a special part regarding the conflict of law rules in force in the Portuguese legal system

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Helena Brito


Weekly - 4.5

Total - 54

Teaching language



Not Applicable


See Bibliografia (above).

Teaching method

The classes involve dialogue between the lecturer and the students.

The teaching methodology adopted for this course includes the presentation and the discussion of theoretical concepts of Private International Law related to the reading and analysis of legal texts and of practical issues which will allow the students to come in contact with past and present reality, not only theoretical but also practical.

The practical teaching is based on oral and written resolution of cases contrived by the lecturer and on the discussion of court decisions.

Evaluation method

Final written exam. Grades may be improved with oral presentations during the semester (Other evaluation elements - 50%).

Subject matter

Introduction. The scope of Private International Law: cases having relevant connections with different systems of law. Several methods for the regulation of cases having relevant connections with different systems of law. The conflict of laws rules.


I. Conflict of laws: general part. Sources of law, scope, function and nature of the conflict of laws rules Problems relating to the interpretation and the application of the conflict of laws rules. Reference to the law of a State with more than one legal system. Renvoi. Fraud. Characterisation. Public policy («ordre public»).


II. Conflict of laws: special part. International, European and internal sources of law. General rules for the choice of the legal system to be applied to persons, legal transactions, obligations, property, family relations and successions, taking into consideration the European Regulations on the law applicable to some of these matters and the system of conflict of laws rules of the Portuguese Civil Code.


Programs where the course is taught: