AN APPRAISAL OF THE DOCTRINE OF DOMICILE UNDER THE PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW


AN APPRAISAL OF THE DOCTRINE OF DOMICILE UNDER THE PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW  

 

ABSTRACT

      This write up is to assess the quality of the value of the doctrine of domicile under the

      Private International Law i. e Conflict of laws.

      Private  International  Law  is  that  part  of  law  of  a  country  which  deals  with  cases

      having a foreign element. It is therefore the that part of law that comes into into play

      whenever  the  issue  before  the    affect  some  events/  facts/  transactions  that  are  so

      closely  connected  with  a  foreign  system  of  laws  as  to  necessitate  recourse  to  that

      system.

     The law pertaining to where a person intends to make his permanent home is subject

    to a lot of argument. No wonder domicile has been said to be easier describe than to

      define. There are indication  from  both  local  and foreign journals  which indicate that

      there are conflicting understanding in the area of domicile.  

      Under  the  Private  International  Law,  the  concept  of  domicile  has  several  as  well  as

    area  of  applications,  some  of  which  include  the  acquisition  and  loss  of  domicile  of

      choice, origin and dependence.

    In  Nigeria,  the  doctrine of  domicile  is  alien,  a  product  of  our  colonial  link  with  the

      British common law. Due to the diversi ethnicity and culture in Nigeria. The doctrine

    of domicile is based on its character subject to conflict based in the Nigerian context.  

      This long essay identifies the various definition of domicile, the distinctive features of

    each type of domicile, their workings, variations and also their shortenings.      

                                 TABLE OF CONTENTS

      COVER PAGE……………………………………..………….……………….i

        CERTIFICATION PAGE……………………………..………...……………ii  

                ABSTRACT………………………………………………….………………..iii

      TABLE OF CONTENTS..................................................................................iv

                DEDICATION…………………………………………………………...……viii

                ACKNOWLEDGEMENT……………………………………………………ix

      TABLE OF CASES……………………………………………………………x

      TABLE OF STATUTES………………………..……………………………..xii

      LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS………………………………………………….xiii

       CHAPTER 1

      GENERAL INTRODUCTION

      1.0.0: INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………….1

      1.1.0: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY………………………………............3

      1.2.0:  OBJECTIVES OF STUDY………………………………………………..3

      1.3.0:  FOCUS OF STUDY………………………………………………………...4

      1.4.0: SCOPE OF STUDY…………………………………………………………4

      1.5.0:  METHODOLOGY……………………………………………..…...............5

      1.6.0:  LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………………………………..5

      1.7.0:  CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………7

      CHAPTER 2

      DOCTRINE OF DOMICILE

      2.0.0:  INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………8

      2.1.0: DEFINITION OF DOMICILE .......................................................................9  

        2.2.0:ASCERTAINMENT OF DOMICILE………………………………………16

      2.3.0: DOMICILE AND NATIONALITY……………………………...................17

      2.4.0: RULES AND TYPES OF DOMICILE…………………….………………20

                                                                                        5

       2.5.0: CONCLUSION………………………………………………........................25

      CHAPTER 3

      ACQUISITION OF DOMICILE

      3.0.0: INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………27

      3.1.0: ACQUISITION OF DOMICILE OF ORIGIN…………….……………….28

      3.2.0: ACQUISITION OF DOMICILE OF CHOICE…………………………….31

      3.2.1.0: RESIDENCE (FACTUM)…………………… …………………….…….33

      3.2.1.1: THE REQUISITE INTENTION (ANIMUS) ……………………………36

      3.2.1.2: SPECIAL CASES IN ACQUISITION OF DOMICILE OF CHOICE...49

      3.2.1.3: LOSS OF DOMICILE OF CHOICE..........................................................55             

      3.3.0: DOMICILE OF ORIGIN AND CHOICE CONTRASTED………….......55

      3.4.0: CHANGE OF DOMICILE AND NATIONALITY ………...……………61

      3.5.0: CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………....62

      CHAPTER 4

      DOMICILE OF DEPENDENT PERSONS

      4.0.0: INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………..64

                                                                                        6

       4.1.0: DOMICILE OF CHILDREN …………………………………………64

      4.2.0: DOMICILE OF MARRIED WOMEN………………………………....66

      4.3.0:  DOMICILE OF PERSON OF UNSOUND MIND ……………………69                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

      4.4.0:  MERITS AND DEMERITS OF DOMICILE…………….…………...70

      4.5.0:  CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………72

      CHAPTER 5

      GENERAL CONCLUSION

      5.0.0: CONCLUSION………………………………………………………………73

      5.1.0: RECOMMENDATION…………………………………………………….74

                  BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………….....................................76

CHAPTER 1

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

      1.0.0: INTRODUCTION

    It  has  been  universally  recognized  that  questions  affecting  the  personal  status  of  a

      human being  should be governed constantly by one and the same law irrespective of

      where he may happen to be or of where the facts giving rise to the question may have

      occurred. But unanimity goes no further, there is disagreement on two matters. What

    is the scope of this „personal law‟, as it is called and should its criterion be domicile or

      nationality?1 In England, however it has long been settled that question affecting status

    are determined by the law of the domicile of a person and that broadly speaking such

      questions are those affecting family relations and family property. To be more precise,

    the following matters are to  a greater or lesser  extent governed by the personal  law:

    the  essential  validity  of  marriage;  the  effect  of  marriage  on  the  propriately  rights  of

      husband  and  wife;  jurisdiction  in  divorce  and  nullity of  marriage,  though  only  to  a

      limited degree; legitimacy, legitimating and adoption, wills of movables and intestate

      succession to movables. The concept of domicile however, is not uniform throughout

    1

 Cheshire  and  North‟s  :on  the  merits  of  nationality  and  domicile  in  pp  165- 167  of Private

      International Law  

                                                                                      14

     the world Domicile known as habitual residence to some and permanent residence to

      some people.2

      The  English  concept  of  domicile  is  bedeviled  by  rules,  these  are  complex  often

      impossible  to  justify  in  policy  terms  and  lead  to  uncertainty  of  outcome.  Before

      looking at these rules in details, one preliminary matter should be considered. This is

      question  of  whether  the  same  test  for  domicile  applies  regardless  of  the  context  I

      which the matter is raised. English law take the view that the test which determines the

      place of a man‟s domicile must remain constant no matter what the nature of the issue

      may  be  before  the  court. „Domicile‟ is  regarded as  a  relative  term  which  varies  in

      meaning  according  to  the  different  situation  (e.g.  divorce,  taxation  intestate

      succession) to which it is applicable. There are however types of domicile, domicile of

      origin: gotten from birth, domicile of choice:  acquired in  substitution for the present

    one  and  also  domicile  of  dependent  persons:  acquire  through  the  person  they  are

      depending on.

      These  and  many  more  are  what  is  going  to  be  discussed later.  Domicile,  in  its

      appraisal, its type, workings and also shortenings.

       Whicker v Hume (1858) 7 H L Cas 124 at 160

                                                                                      15

      1.1.0: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

      Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, domicile was universally recognized as

    the basis for the application of personal law.3 However, as a result of the influence of

      Maincini4 in  the  mid-nineteenth  century  some  of  the  continental  European  countries

      adopted  nationality  in  preference  to  domicile  as  the  connecting  factor  for  the

      ascertainment of personal laws. Since then, some countries have somehow combined

    the two criteria. For common law countries, however, domicile appears to have been

      generally accepted. In Nigeria, the adoption of can be justified on ground of practical

      necessity as “Nigeria nationality” covers a number of independent legal systems.5

      1.2.0: OBJECTIVES OF STUDY

 The aim of this write up is to  

    1. Assess the definitions of domicile under the Private International Law.

    2. Access the quality of the value of domicile.

    3. To  discuss  the  rules  of  domicile  as  contained  in  the  received  English  law  and  to

      show how these rules have been, or ought to be modified in order suit Nigerian local

      conditions.

    3

      Logical and Legal basis of the conflict of laws .pp 104.   

    4th

       Cheshire G.C ; Private International Law (7 ed) p. 180

    5

       The French Civil Code (code Napoleon) 1803

                                                                                      16

     4. To  identify  the  distinctive  features  of  each  types  of  domicile,  their  workings,

      variations and also their shortenings.

    5. To proffer recommendations on the doctrine of domicile.

      1.3.0: FOCUS OF STUDY

      Under  the  Private  International  Law,  the  concept  of  domicile  has  several  as  well  as

      areas  of  applications,  some  of  which  include  the  acquisition  and  loss  of  domicile  of

      choice, origin and dependent.

      The  focus  of  study  or  centre  of  interest  therefore  is  on  the  concept  of  domicile  as

      adopted  to  determine  the  individual  personal  law  which  is  the  law  of  the  country  to

      which  the  person  primarily  belongs  especially  for  the  purpose  of  family  law  and

      succession. So personal law determine matters such as essential validity of marriage,

      intestate  succession,  legitimacy,  legitimation  and  adoption  etc.  All  these  and  many

      more are what will be discussed in this essay.

      1.4.0: SCOPE OF STUDY

      The range of this essay  however, is  strictly  on the assessment of domicile under the

      Private International Law in both the Inter- state and International situations and that

    the adherence to the English law by the Nigerian judges which should be curbed since

    the rules itself  is being subjected to reform in England.

                                                          17

       1.5.0. METHODOLOGY

 Both primary and secondary sources of law and the basis for this research work. Thus

    the  Domicile  Act,  Law  Textbooks,  Law  report,  Articles  on  law,  various  statute  and

      cases on the subject matter are sources of information. This project shall also be both

      comparative and analytical in nature.      

      1.6.0: LITERATURE REVIEW

    In  this  study  relevant  literature,  judicial  authorities  and  statutes  shall  be  examined.

      Thus,  credence  shall  be  given  to  several  authors  in  the  field  of  the  Conflict  of  laws

      whose works have in no small measure contributed immensely to Private International

      Law  on  the  whole.  Works  of  different  authors  both  foreign  and  Nigerian  such  as

      Morris and Dicey, Cheshire an North‟s,  Graveson, Agbede I.O, to mention a few will

      serve as an aid to arrive at a logical conclusion on this study.

      Morris in his book The Conflict of laws6 provides a comprehensive and authoritative

      coverage of the subject but failed to Graveson ,Conflict of laws7 who only commented

      on  the  definition  of  domicile  to  no  longer  fits  the  complexity,  movement  and

      sophistication of modern life in which many of our best intentions become temporary

      through  frustrating    circumstances.  But  he  failed  to  point  out  the  ways  to  go  about

    6th

       Morris: the Conflict of laws, 4 ed by J D McClean, London, sweet and Maxwell, 1993, p 12

    7

       Graveson, conflict of laws (1969) p.20

                                                                                      18

       giving  a  definition  that  will  fit  our  modern  life.  On  the  other  hand,  Agbede  .I  .O,

      Themes on Conflict of Laws8 talk on the need to establish residence and intention to

      remain  in  a  place  permanently (or  indefinitely),he  also  went  further  to provide  a

      comprehensive  coverage  of  the  spectrum  of  the    law  of  domicile  as  it  applies  in

      Nigeria but he did little in  expanciating on this requisites of acquiring a domicile of

      choice.

      Accordingly,  Cheshire  and  North‟s  in  their  book  Private  International  Law9 gave  a

      good  insight  to  domicile  being  a  difficult  term  to  define  but  rather  better  in

      description,  but  their  way  of  describing  was  faulty  in  that  there  was  no  clear

      distinction between a permanent home and habitual home.

      Many  books  and  Statutes  shall  be  used  mostly  in  the  course  of  this  study.  This  is  

      because  textbooks  are  what  has  been  compiled  by  various  authors  while  using  the

      Statutes  to  back  up  their  argument.  Thus,  it  is  only  logical  for  this  approach  to  be

      adopted since the word domicile itself still happen in how day to day living, as people

      migrate  from  one  country  to  another,  so  there  was  need  for  domicile.  In  this  vein,

      Omoruyi.  I. O in  his  Article10 Domicile as a determinant  of personal  law;  a case for

    the  abandonment  of  the  revival  doctrine  in  Nigeria,  examined  that  the  common  law

    8

       Agbede I.O., Themes on Conflict of Laws.( 2001) Shaneson C. I Ltd

    9th

 Cheshire and North‟s , Private International Law, (1974) (7 ed)  

      10

            htp/wwwnigerianlawgurucom.articles>accessed 2000

                                                                                      19

       conception  of  domicile  vis-à-vis  the  revival  doctrine  cannot  adequately  fit  into  the

      realities of the contemporary society and therefore the law must be reformed to reflect

    this fact.  

     Though,  all  these  authors have  tried  to  assess  the  doctrine  of  domicile but  it  is

      however  clear  that  there  is  need  for  the  modifications  of  some  of  these  rules  of  the

      received English law before it can be incorporated into the Nigerian laws.

      1.7.0: CONCLUSION

    In conclusion, this chapter is an insight into the study of the doctrine of domicile, the

      quality  of  it,  the  aims  and  objectives,  the  various  methods  to  be  used  and  also  the

      various authors who dealt succinctly with the assessment of domicile. This chapter is

    just  the  introductory  part  of  the  study  of  the  doctrine  of  domicile  under  Private

      International Law.  

.

AN APPRAISAL OF THE DOCTRINE OF DOMICILE UNDER THE PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW



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