The Doctrine of Renvoi in International Torts: Mercantile Mutual Insurance v Neilson
The High Court recently clarified the choice of law rule which applies to international torts, which are now governed by the law of the place of the tort. Where the tort occurred abroad, the choice of law rule will require Australian courts to apply foreign law. The High Court did not specifically address whether a reference to foreign law means a reference to its internal law or to its choice of law rules - a problem which is addressed in private international law by the doctrine of renvoi. This problem arose directly in Mercantile Mutual Insurance (Australia) v Neilson. This note explains and critically evaluates the decision of the Full Court of Western Australia in this case. It argues for a closer consideration of whether renvoi should be available in international torts and for refinement of the choice of law rule in international torts.
Torts Law Journal