Doctrine of Renvoi -by Vaibhav sharma

Renvoi word is derived from the French word Renvoyer which means to refer back.

In Conflict of law rules reference to a law of foreign country means reference to the lex situs or domicile law of the country. But in certain English cases the reference to foreign system of law has been deemed to mean a reference to the entire legal system of the country including its conflict of law rules.  This peculiar situation is called Doctrine of Renvoi. According to Dictionary meaning, renvoi‘ is a term in private International law to denote the sending, or determination, of a matter or according to the law of a tribunal outside the jurisdiction where the question arose.


Three possible solutions:

  1. The first solution (which is generally considered as the correct and most desirable approach on all hands) is to read the expression ‘the law of a country’s as meaning only the Internal Law of the country.
  2. Second solution is to apply the Doctrine of Renvoi.[ Single Renvoi]

A British subject, dies intestate, domiciled in Italy, and an English Court is required to decide the mode in which his movables found in England shall be distributed. The English Court is directed by its own private international law to refer this question of distribution to Italian law as being thelex domiciliof the deceased. When however, it examines the provisions relating to the conflict of laws contained in the Italian code, it finds that in the case of succession to movables they prefer the lex partiaeof the deceased to his lex domicili,and that if an Italian court had been seized of this matter in the first instance, it would have resorted to the law of England.

Thus, the English Court finds itself referred back to English law as being law of X’s nationality. There is a Renvoior remission to English law. If a court accepts this remission and distributes the property according to the internal law of England, it is true to say that the doctrine of renvoi is part of English law.


3. The third solution is to apply the concept of Double Renvoi or Foreign Court Theory.

There is a third way to deal with remission issues. There are various names for this doctrine including “foreign court theory” or “doctrine of double renvoi” or “English doctrine of renvoi”.

In essence, it means that the local court which, according to local private international law, must refer to foreign law, has to place itself in the shoes of the foreign court of the legal system it is referring to and essentially perform a thought experiment of “if I was that foreign court, how would I decide this case?” As you can imagine this brings about a rather large number of issues and further complicates the situation.

Doctrine of total renvoi depends on whether the foreign legal system to which the reference/remittance is being made to, accept the doctrine of single renvoi.

So , we can conclude that-

  • The Doctrine of Renvoi is the process by which a court adopts rules of a foreign jurisdiction with any conflict of law.
  • It is a method used to take care of cases existing in foreign elements.
  • The idea used behind the doctrine is that it prevents forum shopping and the same law is used for cases regardless of what the case actually is. It attempts to achieve the end.
  • The renvoi ensures the enforcement of judgments. The judgment will be efficient only as an effect of admitting the renvoi, because, from all the states where it is possible to invoke its effects, most likely is the state whose law is connected with the legal relationship, through its foreign element.
  • But, it has several drawbacks too.

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