Encyclopedia of Private International Law
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Encyclopedia of Private International Law

Edited by Jürgen Basedow, Giesela Rühl, Franco Ferrari and Pedro de Miguel Asensio

The role and character of Private International Law has changed tremendously over the past decades. With the steady increase of global and regional inter-connectedness the practical significance of the discipline has grown. Equally, so has the number of legislative activities on the national, international and, most importantly, the European level. With a world-class editor team, 500 content items and authorship from almost 200 of the world’s foremost scholars, the Encyclopedia of Private International Law is the definitive reference work in the field. 57 different countries are represented by authors who shed light on the current state of Private International Law around the globe, providing unique insights into the discipline and how it is affected by globalization and increased regional integration. The Encyclopedia consists of three inter-linked pillars, enhanced by sophisticated search and cross-linking functionality. The first pillar consists of A-Z coverage of the scope and substance of Private International Law in the form of 247 entries. The second pillar comprises detailed overviews of the Private International Law regimes of 80 countries. The third pillar presents valuable, and often unique, English language translations of the national codifications and Private International Law provisions of those countries. This invaluable combination represents a powerful research tool and an indispensable reference resource.
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Dominican Republic

Private International Law Act of the Dominican Republic of 5 December 20141

Ley No 544-14, published in the Official Gazette of the Dominican Republic on 18 December 2014

WHEREAS FIRST: The norms that substantially organize and govern private international relations connected to the Dominican Republic date back to a series of Articles included in the Civil Code adopted by the Commission appointed by the Executive Branch according to the National Congress’ Decree of 4 July 1882, preserving the order of the Articles of the French text in force in the Republic since the year 1845, and some individual provisions included in certain special laws;

WHEREAS SECOND: In the context of an increasingly open, global and competitive economy, the establishment of norms organizing the relations of private international transactions from the basis of the regulatory trends in force in the world constitutes an unavoidable imperative; such norms will provide a higher degree of legal certainty and protection of the legitimate trust, thereby strengthening the rule of law;

WHEREAS THIRD: The private international law provisions included in the Civil Code and in the special laws must be entirely substituted by a new legal instrument which meets the present and future needs of the nation, in a manner consistent with the agreements, conventions and treaties signed and ratified by the Dominican Republic;

WHEREAS FOURTH: This new legal instrument, without departing from the French legal tradition, inherent to our legal system, may not disregard the developments carried out in the context of the Inter-American Specialized Conference and the contribution of The Hague Conference on Private International Law, particularly because the Dominican Republic recently ratified certain of its Conventions;

WHEREAS FIFTH: The current initiative modernizes the regulation that the Bustamente Code provided to date for our territory of the state;

WHEREAS SIXTH: It is necessary that the state passes an act allowing it to efficiently regulate civil relations, such as divorce between foreigners, respecting party autonomy and in accordance with international treaties.

  • Having regard to: The Republic’s Constitution.

  • Having regard to: The private international law Convention (Bustamante Code, of 13 December 1928).

  • Having regard to: The Dominican Republic Civil Code.

  • Having regard to: The Commercial Code.

  • Having regard to: The Civil Procedure Code.

  • Having regard to: The Act 1306-Bis, of 26 May 1937, Divorce Act.

  • Having regard to: The Act 16–92, of 29 May 1992, Labor Code.

  • Having regard to: The Act 285-04, of 15 August 2004, Immigration General Act.

  • Having regard to: The Act 489-08, of 19 December 2008, Commercial Arbitration Act.

  • Having regard to: The Act 479-08, of 11 December 2008, Commercial Companies and Industrial Limited Liability Companies Actp. 3141

Title I Initial Provisions

Chapter I On the Subject Matter of this Act

Article 1. Subject matter of the Act. The subject matter of this Act is the regulation of private international relations of civil and commercial nature in the Dominican Republic, in particular:

  • the extent and limits of the Dominican jurisdiction;

  • the determination of the applicable law;

  • the conditions for the recognition and enforcement of foreign decisions.

Chapter II On the Exclusions, Special Laws and International Treaties

Article 2. Excluded matters. The following matters are excluded from the scope of application of this Act:

  • administrative matters;

  • commercial arbitration, which is governed by Act 489-08, of 19 December 2008, Commercial Arbitration Act, and Act 50–87, of 6 April 1987, which derogates and substitutes Act No 42 of year 1942, on the Official Chambers of Commerce, Agriculture and Industry of the Republic;

  • bankruptcy and analogous proceedings, without prejudice to the provisions included in this Act.

Article 3. Application of international treaties. The provisions of this Act will be applied to the extent that they conform to the provisions laid down in the international treaties to which the Dominican Republic is a contracting party.

Paragraph I. If contradictions arise between the application of this Act and international treaties, the provisions of international treaties will prevail.

Paragraph II. Regard will be had to the international nature of treaties and the requirement of their uniform application for their interpretation.

Article 4. Special laws. The provisions in this Act will be applied without prejudice to the provisions included in the special laws regulating private international relations.

Paragraph. In the event of a contradiction, the special laws regulating private international relations will prevail.

Chapter III On the domicile and the habitual residence

Article 5. Domicile. The domicile is the place of the persons’ habitual residence.

Paragraph. No natural person may have two or more domiciles.

Article 6. Habitual residence. Habitual residence is deemed to be:

  • the place where a natural person is principally established, even if no records exist in any registry and even if he lacks a residence permit. To determine that place, regard will be had to the personal or professional circumstances which evidence long-lasting bonds with such place;

  • The place where a legal or moral person has its headquarters, central administration or its main place of business. Such place will be determined pursuant to the provisions of Act No 479-08.

Paragraph. For the purposes of determining the persons’ habitual residence, the provisions of the Dominican Republic Civil Code will not apply.p. 3142

Chapter IV On the Definitions

Article 7. Definitions. For the purposes of this Act, the following terms are defined:

  • International Dispute: deemed to be those which have an element typical of a private international relation, according to the definition established in this Act for these relations;

  • Dominican Public Policy: encompasses the mandatory provisions or principles not subject to party autonomy;

  • International Public Policy: the set of principles which underlie the Dominican legal system and which reflect the values of the society at the moment of its application;

  • Private International Relations: deemed to be those determined by personal or subjective elements related to the parties to the legal relation, such as: nationality, residence or domicile abroad, as well as by the objective elements of such relation when they are connected to a foreign legal system.

Title II On the Extent and Limits of the Dominican Jurisdiction in Civil and Commercial Matters

Chapter I On the Scope of the Dominican Jurisdiction

Article 8. General scope of the jurisdiction. The Dominican courts will entertain the cases originated in Dominican territory between Dominicans, between foreigners and between Dominicans and foreigners.

Article 9. Access of foreigners to the Dominican courts. Foreigners will have access to the Dominican courts on equal terms as nationals and will have the right to effective judicial protection.

Paragraph. In the event of parties being claimants or intervening parties before the Dominican courts, no security or deposit, under any denomination whatsoever, will be imposed on those parties, whether based either on their status as foreigners, or on their lack of domicile or residence in the territory of the state.

Article 10. Validity of forum selection agreements. Forum selection agreements are valid when the dispute is of an international nature.

Chapter II On the Forums of Jurisdiction of the Dominican Courts

Article 11. Exclusive jurisdiction. The Dominican courts have exclusive jurisdiction over the following:

  • rights in rem and rental of real estate located in Dominican territory;

  • formation, validity, nullity or dissolution of a commercial company which has its domicile in Dominican territory, as well as over the agreements and decisions of its bodies when they affect its existence towards everyone (erga omnes) and its operational rules;

  • validity or nullity of registrations made in a Dominican registry;

  • registrations or validity of patents and other rights subject to deposit or registration when the deposit or registration has been requested or made in the Dominican Republic;

  • recognition and enforcement in the Dominican territory of judicial and arbitral decisions issued abroad;

  • protective measures which are enforceable in the Dominican Republic;

  • proceedings regarding the determination of the Dominican nationality.

Article 12. Prorogation of jurisdiction in favour of the Dominican jurisdiction. The Dominican courts will have jurisdiction, on a general basis, when the parties have expressly or impliedly p. 3143selected them, unless it affects the matters envisaged in Articles 11 and 15, whose provisions will then apply.

Article 13. Validity of the forum selection. Forum selection in the matters envisaged in numbers 4), 5) and 6) of Article 16 will only be valid if:

  • it is founded on a forum selection agreement concluded after the beginning of the dispute;

  • both contracting parties had their domicile in the Dominican Republic at the moment of the conclusion of the contract;

  • the claimant is the consumer, worker, insured person, policyholder, injured party, or insurance beneficiary.

Paragraph. The jurisdiction envisaged in this Article will encompass the validity of the forum selection agreements, provided that the requirements laid down in Article 18 are met.

Article 14. Exclusion by the parties of the jurisdiction of the Dominican courts (derogatio fori). The jurisdiction determined according to the provisions of Article 19 may be excluded by the parties through a forum selection agreement in favour of a foreign court.

Paragraph I. In the event of exclusion of their jurisdiction, the Dominican courts will terminate the proceedings, and they will only be able to entertain the case if the designated foreign courts decline their jurisdiction.

Paragraph II. The exclusion of the jurisdiction of the Dominican courts has no effects when it deals with matters in which their selection as forum is not possible.

Article 15. Jurisdiction of the Dominican courts in matters of the person and the family. The Dominican courts will have jurisdiction in the following matters, concerning the rights of the person of the family:2

  • declaration of the legal presumption of absence or legal presumption of death, when the person subject to such measure had his last habitual residence in Dominican territory;

  • Incapacitation and measures for the protection of the person or the assets of minors will be according to The Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children; regarding incapacitated persons of legal age, the Dominican courts will entertain these cases when they have their habitual residence in the Dominican Republic;

  • personal and property relations between spouses, nullity of marriage, separation and divorce, when both spouses have their habitual residence in the Dominican Republic at the time of the claim, or had their last common habitual residence in the Dominican Republic and the claimant continues to reside in the Dominican Republic at the time of the claim, as well as when both spouses have Dominican nationality;

  • filiation when the son or daughter has habitual residence in the Dominican Republic at the time of the claim, or the claimant is Dominican and has been habitually resident in the Dominican Republic for at least six months prior to filing of the claim;

  • granting an adoption, when the adopting or the adopted person is Dominican or habitually resides in the Dominican Republic;

  • maintenance, when the creditor has habitual residence in Dominican territory.

Article 16. Jurisdiction of the Dominican courts over patrimonial law matters. The Dominican courts will have jurisdiction over the following matters, concerning patrimonial law:

  • contractual obligations, when they have to be complied with in the Dominican Republic;

  • non-contractual obligations, when the harmful event has occurred or could occur in Dominican territory or the perpetrator of the damage and the victim have their common habitual residence p. 3144in the Dominican Republic; the Dominican courts with jurisdiction in criminal matters will also have jurisdiction to decide on the legal liability arising from damages derived from a criminal offence;

  • disputes about the exploitation of a branch, agency or commercial establishment, when they are located in Dominican territory;

  • contracts concluded by consumers, when the consumer has domicile in the Dominican Republic and the other party performs professional activities in the Dominican Republic, or by any means directed its commercial activity towards the Dominican Republic and the contract is encompassed within the framework of those activities. Otherwise, the rule incorporated in number 1 of this Article will apply;

  • insurances, when the insured person, policyholder, injured party, or insurance beneficiary have their domicile in the Dominican Republic; the insurer may also be sued before the Dominican courts if the harmful event occurs in Dominican territory and the dispute deals with a contract for legal liability insurance or a contract over real estate or, being a legal liability insurance, if the Dominican courts or tribunals have jurisdiction to entertain the victim’s action against the insured person pursuant to number 2 of this Article.

  • actions regarding moveable assets, if they are located in Dominican territory at the time of the claim;

  • inheritance, when the deceased person had his last domicile in Dominican territory or has real estate in the Dominican Republic.

Paragraph. In employment contracts, the employers may be sued before the Dominican courts if the work is habitually performed in the Dominican Republic; or, in the event that the work is not habitually performed in only one state, if the establishment which employed the worker is located in the Dominican Republic.

Article 17. Protective measures. The Dominican courts have jurisdiction regarding the adoption of protective measures regarding:

  • persons and assets located in Dominican territory and which have to be complied with in the Dominican Republic;

  • litigious situations falling within the scope of their jurisdiction.

Chapter III On the Forum Selection

Article 18. Forum selection agreement. A forum selection agreement is that whereby the parties decide to submit to the Dominican courts some or all of the disputes arisen or which might arise between them, with respect to a specific legal relation, contractual or non-contractual.

Paragraph I. The forum selection agreement can adopt the form of a clause incorporated into the contract or in the form of an independent agreement.

Paragraph II. The forum selection agreement must be in writing. The agreement will be deemed to be in writing when it is included in a document signed by the parties or in an exchange of letters, faxes, telegrams, electronic mails or other communication techniques which provide evidence of the agreement and are accessible for their subsequent reference in electronic form, optic form, or in any other form; or when the agreement is included in an exchange of statements of claim and defense in the proceedings initiated in the Dominican Republic, in which the existence of the agreement is asserted by one party and not denied by the other.

Article 19. General forum of the defendant’s domicile and special fori. In matters different from those envisaged in Article 11, and absent a valid forum selection in favour of the Dominican courts, according to Article 12, the Dominican courts will have jurisdiction when the defendant has domicile in the Dominican Republic or is deemed to be domiciled there according to any of the fori laid down in Articles 15 and 16.p. 3145

Article 20. Plurality of defendants. In the event of a plurality of defendants, the Dominican courts will have jurisdiction when at least one of them has domicile in the Dominican Republic, provided that the claims are connected between them by a relation so close that their consolidation is expedient.

Article 21. Forum when it is not possible to initiate the proceedings abroad (necessity forum). The Dominican courts may not decline their jurisdiction when it can be inferred from the circumstances of the case that it manifests some connections with the Dominican Republic and it cannot be included within the scope of the international jurisdiction of any of the states connected to it, or the recognition of the foreign judgment issued in the case is denied in the Dominican Republic.

Chapter IV On the Lack of Jurisdiction of the Dominican Courts

Article 22. Lack of jurisdiction of the Dominican courts. The Dominican courts will have no jurisdiction in those cases in which the provisions of this Act do not grant them jurisdiction, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 21.

Paragraph I. The Dominican courts will declare their lack of jurisdiction if their jurisdiction is not founded on the provisions of this Act.

Paragraph II. In the event of default of appearance by the defendant, the Dominican courts may declare their lack of jurisdiction ex officio.

Article 23. Forum of jurisdiction not convenient (forum non conveniens). The Dominican courts may, at the request of any party, refrain from entertaining or continuing to entertain a case due to reasons arising outside Dominican territory:

  • when it is required to collect testimonial evidence and the witnesses reside abroad, and the collection of such evidence abroad or their attendance before the Dominican courts is highly burdensome for each of the parties;

  • when a judicial inspection is necessary for a better appreciation of the facts and such judicial acts have to be performed abroad.

Article 24. Applicable jurisdictional criteria. The Dominican courts will assert their jurisdiction in accordance with the norms in force and the existing circumstances at the moment of filing the claim, and the proceedings will continue until their termination even if those norms or circumstances have been subsequently modified.

Artile 25. Lis pendens. When another claim between the same parties, with the same object, and cause has been filed before the courts of another state prior to filing the claim before the Dominican jurisdiction, the Dominican courts will suspend the proceedings until the moment the foreign court with which the first claim was filed decides on its jurisdiction.

Paragraph I. If the foreign court with which the first claim was filed asserts its jurisdiction, based on a forum of jurisdiction deemed reasonable by the norms on recognition and enforcement of decisions in force in the Dominican Republic, the Dominican court with which the second claim was filed will decline its jurisdiction.

Paragraph II. Under no circumstances will the lis pendens have effect if the jurisdiction corresponds exclusively to the Dominican courts according to the provisions of Article 11 or any other provisions applicable to the case.

Chapter V On the Immunity from Jurisdiction and Enforcement

Article 26. Immunity from jurisdiction and enforcement. The scope of Article 8 will be determined without prejudice to the situations of immunity from jurisdiction and enforcement of the state and its bodies established according to public international law.

p. 3146Paragraph. The Dominican courts will apply the scope of the immunity established in this Article restrictively, limiting it to the acts which involve the exercise of public powers (iure imperii acts).

Article 27. Regulation of the immunity of diplomatic agents. The immunity from civil and commercial jurisdiction and enforcement of the accredited diplomatic agents in the Dominican Republic will be regulated by the International Treaties and Conventions to which the Dominican Republic is a contracting party.

Article 28. Regulation of the immunity of international organizations and its agents. The immunity from civil and commercial jurisdiction and enforcement of the international organizations to which the Dominican Republic is a member is determined according to its founding treaties.

Paragraph. The agents of such international organizations enjoy such immunities on the terms envisaged in the treaties.

Title III On the Determination of the Applicable Law

Chapter I On the Norms Regulating the Determination of the Applicable Law

Section I On the Person and His Rights

Article 29. Law applicable to the legal personality. The commencement and termination of the legal personality are governed by Dominican law.

Article 30. Law applicable to the exercise of civil rights. The exercise of civil rights is governed by the law of the domicile.

Paragraph. The change of domicile does not affect civil rights once they have been acquired.

Article 31. Capacity and civil status. The capacity and civil status of natural persons are governed by the law of the domicile.

Paragraph I. The special conditions of capacity prescribed by the law applicable to a legal relation are governed by that same law.

Paragraph II. A change of domicile does not restrict the acquired capacity.

Paragraph III. The incapacities derived from a legal relation are governed by the law applicable to that relation.

Article 32. Exceptions to situations of incapacity. The situations of incapacity regulated in Article 67 are excepted.

Article 33. Rights relating to personality. The existence and content of rights relating to personality are governed by the law of the person’s domicile.

Paragraph I. The rights derived from a family relation are governed by the law applicable to that relation.

Paragraph II. The consequences of the violation of the rights indicated in paragraph I of this Article are governed by the law applicable to the liability arising from wrongful acts.

Article 34. Name and surname. The name and surname of a person are governed by the law of the domicile at the moment of birth.

Paragraph. The declaration of birth of a person and its registration in the corresponding public registries are governed by Dominican law.

Article 35. Declaration of the legal presumption of absence or legal presumption of death. The declaration of the legal presumption of absence or the legal presumption of death is governed by the law of the state where the person had domicile before the disappearance.p. 3147

Article 36. Administration of the absent person’s assets. The provisional administration of the absent person’s assets will be governed by the law of the state in whose territory the absent person had domicile, and if such law could not be determined, by Dominican law.

Article 37. Law applicable to commercial companies and to single-member limited liability companies. Commercial companies and single-member limited liability companies are governed by the law of the state in whose territory they were formed and have their headquarters.

Article 38. Extent of the applicable law. The law applicable to commercial companies and single-member limited liability companies encompasses:

  • their existence, capacity and legal nature;

  • the name and headquarters;

  • the formation, dissolution and liquidation;

  • the composition, powers and functioning;

  • the internal relations between the shareholders and the relations between the company and the shareholders;

  • the acquisition and loss of the status of shareholder;

  • the rights and obligations corresponding to the shares or equity participations and their exercise;

  • the liability arising from the infraction of Act 479-08, of 11 December 2008, Commercial Companies and Industrial Limited Liability Companies Act, or of the Articles of Incorporation.

  • the extent of liability towards third parties for the debts assumed by its bodies.

Article 39. Transfer of the headquarters. The transfer of the headquarters of a commercial company or of a single-member limited liability company from one state to another one will only affect the personality in the terms allowed by the laws of the states.

Paragraph. In the event of transfer of the headquarters to the territory of another state, the company will be governed by the law of that state since such transfer.

Section II On the Family Relations

Article 40. Celebration of the marriage. The capacity to marry and the substantive requirements for the marriage are governed, for each of the spouses, by the law of their respective domicile.

Article 41. Validity of the marriage. The marriage is valid as to form if it is deemed as such by the law of the place where it is celebrated or by the national law or the law of the domicile of at least one of the spouses at the moment of celebration.

Article 42. Relations in personam between the spouses. The relations in personam between spouses are governed by the law of the marital domicile immediately following celebration of the marriage.

Paragraph. If the parties had no common marital domicile, the law of the common nationality at the moment of celebration of the marriage will apply and, in the alternative, the law of the place of celebration of the marriage.

Article 43. Property relations in the marriage. Property relations between spouses are governed by the law applicable to their relations in personam, absent agreement to the contrary.

Article 44. Choice of laws applicable to the marriage. Spouses may agree in writing before the marriage to have their property relations governed by the following laws:

  • the law of the state of which one of the spouses is a national at the moment of the choice;

  • the law of the state in whose territory one of the spouses has his/her domicile at the moment of the choice;

  • the law of the first state in whose territory one of the spouses establishes a new habitual residence after the marriage.p. 3148

Article 45. Choice of internal laws. The spouses may agree in writing during the marriage to have their matrimonial regime governed by an internal law different from the one applicable until then, provided it does not prejudice third-party creditors.

Article 46. Nullity of the marriage. The nullity of the marriage and its effects are governed in accordance with the law applicable to its celebration.

Article 47. Divorce and legal separation. The spouses may agree in writing before or during the marriage to designate the law applicable to the divorce and the legal separation, provided it is one of the following laws:

  • the law of the state in which the spouses have their habitual residence at the moment of the agreement’s conclusion;

  • the law of the state of the last marital domicile, provided one of them still lives there at the moment in which the agreement is concluded;

  • the law of the state whose nationality one of the spouses has at the moment in which the agreement is concluded;

  • Dominican law, provided the Dominican courts have jurisdiction.

Paragraph I. The agreement whereby the law applicable to the divorce is designated can be concluded and modified at any moment, but at the latest at the date of filing the claim with a jurisdictional body.

Paragraph II. Absent choice, the law of the spouses’ common domicile at the moment of filing the claims will apply; alternatively the law of the last common domicile; alternatively Dominican law.

Article 48. Non-matrimonial unions. The law of the place of formation of the non-matrimonial unions registered or recognized by the competent authority governs the capacity of the persons to constitute them, their form, their existence, their validity and their effects.

Paragraph. The effects derived from the non-matrimonial unions envisaged in this Article are governed by the law of the habitual residence of the cohabitants.

Article 49. Determination of filiation. Filiation is governed by the law of the habitual residence of the son or daughter.

Paragraph I. The law of the habitual residence of the son or daughter encompasses the conditions and the effects of the determination and of the lack of knowledge of the status of son or daughter.

Paragraph II. The status of a legitimate son or daughter acquired on the basis of the law of one of the parents’ domicile may only be challenged in accordance with that law.

Article 50. Adoption. An adoption granted in the Dominican Republic will be governed by the national law.

Paragraph. In adoption cases, regard will be had to the requirements related to the necessary consents and authorizations required by the national law or the law of the residence of the adopting or the adopted person.

Section III On the Protection of Incapacitated Persons and Obligations

Article 51. Parental responsibility or other analogous authority. Parental responsibility will be governed by the provisions of The Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.

Article 52. Protection of incapacitated persons of legal age. The conditions and the effects of the measures for the protection of persons of legal age lacking capacity, as well as the relations between the person lacking capacity and the person with a duty of care, are governed by the law of the habitual residence of the person lacking capacity.

p. 3149Paragraph. Dominican law will be applicable to provisionally adopt protective and urgent measures for the person or the assets of the person lacking capacity.

Article 53. Law applicable to maintenance obligations. Maintenance obligations are governed by the law of the state of the habitual residence of the creditor.

Paragraph I. In the event of a change of habitual residence, the law of the state of the new habitual residence applies from the moment in which the change takes place.

Paragraph II. Dominican law applies if the creditor cannot obtain maintenance from the debtor pursuant to the law designated in this Article.

Section IV On the Inheritance And Donations

Article 54. Inheritance. Inheritance is governed by the law of the domicile of the deceased person at the moment of death.

Paragraph I. The testator may by an express declaration in testamentary form have his inheritance governed by the law of the state of his habitual residence.

Paragraph II. The distribution of the estate is governed by the law applicable to the inheritance, unless those entitled to participate in the inheritance have designated by common agreement the law of the place of the opening of the succession or of the place in which one or more of the inheritance assets are located.

Article 55. Validity of the will as to form. The will is valid as to form if it is deemed as such by the law of the state in which the testator made it, or by the law of the state of the nationality or of the domicile of the testator at the moment of the will or of the decease.

Article 56. Inheritance corresponding to the state. In the event that there are no heirs, when the law applicable to the inheritance does not attribute the inheritance to the state, the assets of the estate located in the Dominican Republic will become property of the Dominican state.

Article 57. Donations. Donations are governed by the law of the domicile of the donor at the moment of the donation.

Paragraph I. The donor may, by express declaration made together with the donation, have the donation governed by the law of the state in which he has his domicile.

Paragraph II. The donation is valid as to form if it is deemed as such by the law governing its content, or alternatively by the law of the state where it is concluded.

Section V On the Contractual Obligations

Article 58. Determination of the law applicable to the contract. A contract is governed by the law chosen by the parties.

Paragraph I. The parties’ agreement on the choice of applicable law must be express, or absent express agreement it must be inferred in an evident manner from the conduct of the parties and the contractual clauses considered as a whole.

Paragraph II. The choice of applicable law may refer to the entirety of the contract or to a part thereof.

Article 59. Non-binding effects of the forum selection. The selection of a forum by the parties does not necessarily determine the choice of the applicable law.

Article 60. Choice of applicable law. At any moment, the parties may agree to have the contract governed in whole or in part by a law different from the one which previously governed, irrespective of whether the previous law was applicable by virtue of a previous choice or by virtue of other provisions of this Act.

p. 3150Paragraph. If the parties have not chosen an applicable law, or where their choice is ineffective, the contract will be governed by the law of the state with which it has the closest connections.

Article 61. Criteria for the court to determine the applicable law. In determining the law of the state with which the contract has the closest connections, the court will have regard to all of the objective and subjective elements which can be inferred from the contract, and the general principles of international business law accepted by international organizations.

Paragraph I. If a part of the contract is severable from the rest of the contract and it has a closer connection with another state, the law of that state may be applied exceptionally to that part of the contract.

Paragraph II. In addition to the provisions of this Article, when appropriate the norms, customs and principles of international commercial law, and the generally accepted commercial usages and practices will be applicable.

Article 62. Law applicable to employment contracts. Employment contracts are governed by the law of the territory of the state where the work is habitually performed and, if that law could not be determined, by the law of the territory of the state which presents the closest connections.

Paragraph. The choice of applicable law by the parties will only be admissible to the extent that it does not reduce the labour protection standards contemplated in the applicable law determined in accordance with the previous paragraph.

Article 63. Consumer contracts. The contracts concluded by consumers are governed by the law of the territory of the state where the activity is habitually performed, absent choice by the parties the law of the habitual residence of the consumer will apply.3

Paragraph. In the contracts concluded by consumers contemplated in this Article, the choice of applicable law by the parties may not reduce the consumer protection standards envisaged in the law of his habitual residence, in those cases in which the co-contracting party has a commercial establishment in such territory of the state or has in any manner directed his commercial activity towards such territory of the state.

Article 64. Rules applicable to insurance contracts. The rules included in Articles 62 and 63 will be applicable to insurance contracts.

Article 65. Scope of the applicable law. The law applicable to the contract by virtue of the provisions of Article 64 encompasses:

  • its interpretation;

  • the parties’ rights and obligations;

  • the performance of the obligations it contemplates and the consequences of the breach of contract, encompassing the assessment of the damage to the extent that it can determine payment of compensation;

  • the different ways of extinction of obligations, including prescription and limitation of actions;

  • the consequences of nullity or invalidity of the contract;

  • the inter partes acquisition and loss of a right in rem in the terms of the paragraph of Article 76.

Article 66. Mandatory provisions. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 58, the provisions whose observance is deemed essential by the Dominican Republic for the safeguard of its public interests, such as its political, social or economic organization, apply to contracts.

Paragraph. The Dominican courts may, if they deem it appropriate, apply the provisions on the same matter from the law of another state with which the contract has close connections.

Article 67. Conditions for invoking the incapacity of a person. In contracts concluded between persons located in the Dominican Republic, natural persons with capacity according to Dominican p. 3151law may only invoke their lack of capacity resulting from the application of the law of another territory of the state if at the moment of the conclusion of the contract the other party knew about such incapacity or ignored it by virtue of negligence on his part.

Article 68. Validity of contracts as to form. A contract concluded between parties located in the same state will be valid as to form if it complies with the requirements laid down in the law governing such contracts pursuant to Article 58, or with those established in the law of the state where it is concluded or with the law of the place of its performance.

Paragraph. If the persons are located in different states at the moment of conclusion of the contract, the contract will be valid as to form if it complies with the requirements laid down in the law governing the contract according to Article 59, or with those envisaged in the place where the offer or the acceptance is made or with those envisaged in the law of the place of its performance.

Section VI On the Non-Contractual Obligations

Article 69. Law applicable to a non-contractual obligation derived from a harmful event. The law applicable to a non-contractual obligation derived form an event which causes damage will be the law chosen by the tortfeasor and the victim.

Paragraph I. In the alternative, the law of the place where the damage occurs will apply, irrespective of the state where the event giving rise to the damage took place and irrespective of the state or states in which the indirect consequences of the event take place.

Paragraph II. When the person whose liability is alleged and the person sustaining the damage have their habitual residence in the Dominican Republic at the moment in which the damage occurs, Dominican law will apply.

Article 70. Scope of the applicable law. The law applicable to non-contractual obligations regulates:

  • the basis and extent of liability, including the determination of the persons who can be held liable for their own acts;

  • the grounds for exemption from liability, as well as any limitation or division of liability;

  • the existence, nature, and assessment of the damage or the compensation requested;

  • the measures a Dominican court can adopt to ensure prevention, cease and reparation of damage;

  • the transferability, included by inheritance, of the right to claim damages or to request compensation;

  • the persons entitled to reparation of the damage personally sustained;

  • the liability for acts of third parties;

  • the manner of extinction of obligations, as well as the rules of prescription and limitation, including rules relating to the commencement, interruption and suspension of a period of prescription or limitation.

Article 71. Law applicable to the obligation arising from defective products. The law applicable to the non-contractual obligation derived from damage caused by a product will be:

  • the law of the state in which the person sustaining the damage had his habitual residence at the moment in which the damage occurred, if the product was marketed in that state;

  • the law of the state in which the product was acquired, if the product was marketed in that state;

  • the law of the state in which the damage occurred, if the product was marketed in that state;

  • the law of the state where the establishment of the liable person is located.

Article 72. Law applicable to an obligation derived from unfair competition. The law applicable to a non-contractual obligation derived from an act of unfair competition will be the law of the state p. 3152in whose territory the competitive relations or the consumers’ collective interests are or might be affected.

Paragraph. The acts of unfair competition affecting the interests of one competitor in particular, will be governed by the provisions of Article 69.

Article 73. Law applicable to the obligation derived from a restriction of competition. The law applicable to a non-contractual obligation derived from a restriction of competition will be the law of the state in which the market is or might be affected.

Article 74. Law applicable to environmental damage. Liability for environmental

damage will be governed, as elected by the victim, by the law of the place where the damage manifested or of the place where the event giving rise to the damage took place.

Article 75. Law applicable to infringement of intellectual property rights. The law applicable to the non-contractual obligation derived from an infringement of an intellectual property right will be the law of the state where that right is protected.

Section VII On the Assets

Article 76. Possession and rights in rem. Possession, property and other rights in rem over moveable or immoveable assets, as well as their public record and notice, are governed by the law of the state in which the assets are located.

Paragraph. The law of the state in which the assets are located governs the acquisition and loss of the assets, except in inheritance issues and in cases in which the attribution of a right in rem depends on a family relation or on a contract.

Article 77. Law applicable to rights in rem over assets in transit. Rights in rem over assets in transit are governed by the law of the place of destination.

Article 78. Law applicable to rights in rem over means of transportation. The rights in rem over automobiles, trains, aircrafts, and ships are governed by the law of their flag, licence plate or registry.

Article 79. Law applicable to intangible assets. Rights over intangible assets are governed by the law of the state where they are used.

Chapter II On the Rules of Application

Article 80. Determination of foreign law. The Dominican courts and authorities apply ex officio the conflict of laws rules or those included in international treaties signed by the Dominican Republic.

Article 81. Criteria for the application of conflict of laws rules. The courts and authorities apply the law designated by the conflict of laws rules, in accordance with the provisions of Article 80, observing the following:

  • the instruments indicated by international conventions;

  • expert reports of experts from the territory of the state whose law is intended to be applied;

  • expert reports of institutions specialized in Comparative Law;

  • any other document which proves the content of the law, that it is in force, and its application to the specific case.

Paragraph. If the judge cannot determine the designated foreign law with the cooperation of the parties, he will determine the applicable law using other criteria or applies Dominican law.

Article 82. Application of foreign law by judges. The Dominican judges and authorities are obliged to apply foreign law as the judges of the state whose law is applicable would do, without prejudice to the fact that the parties may allege and prove the existence and content of the invoked foreign law.

p. 3153Paragraph. Foreign law is applied according to its criteria for interpretation and temporal application.

Article 83. Application of foreign public law. The foreign law designated by the conflict of laws rules applies even if it is incorporated in a public law provision.

Article 84. Harmonized application of laws. The laws which might be competent to govern a legal relation will be applied in a harmonized manner, endeavouring to achieve the purposes pursued by each of the enactments.

Paragraph. The difficulties arising from the simultaneous application of laws will be resolved having regard to equity considerations in the specific case.

Article 85. Exclusion of renvoi. The foreign law designated by the conflict of laws rules is its substantive law, excluding the renvoi that its conflict of laws rules might effect to another law, including that of Dominica.

Article 86. Causes for non-application of foreign law. Foreign law is not applied if its effects are incompatible with international public policy.

Paragraph I. The incompatibility of foreign law is to be considered having regard to the connection of the legal situation with the Dominican legal system and the seriousness of the effect which the application of the law would produce.

Paragraph II. Once the incompatibility of the foreign law is admitted, the law designated by other connecting factors envisaged for the same conflict of laws rule will apply, and if this is not possible, Dominican law will apply.

Article 87. Plurilegislative legal systems. If in the legal system of the state designated by this Act more than one normative system with territorial or personal jurisdiction coexist, the applicable law is determined pursuant to the criteria used by the system of the designated state.

Paragraph. If the criteria laid down in this Article cannot be individualized, the normative system with which the specific case has the closest connection applies.

Article 88. Recognition of acquired rights. The legal situations created in a state pursuant to any laws with which they have a connection at the moment of their creation will be recognized in the Dominican Republic, provided they are not contrary to the principles of its public policy.

Title IV On the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Decisions

Chapter I On the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign and International Judgments

Article 89. Recognition of foreign judicial decisions on contentious matters. Foreign judicial decisions on contentious matters will be recognized in the Dominican Republic.

Article 90. Exceptions to the recognition of judicial decisions. The courts of the Dominican Republic will not recognize such decisions under the following circumstances:

  • if recognition would be manifestly contrary to public policy;

  • when default of appearance by the defendant is declared without sufficient evidence that he was summoned in person or in his domicile;

  • if the decision would be irreconcilable with a decision previously issued in another state between the same parties, in a case with the same object and the same cause, when such decision complies with the necessary requirements for its recognition in the Dominican Republic;

  • if the provisions laid down in Article 11 of this Act have been ignored;

  • if the decision does not meet the requirements of the state in which it was issued in order to be deemed authentic and those which the Dominican law requires for its validity.p. 3154

Article 91. Exequatur proceedings. For the process of exequatur of foreign decisions of a contentious nature, the Civil and Commercial Chamber of the Court of First Instance of the National District will have jurisdiction.

Paragraph I. The court established in this Article for the entertainment of the exequatur proceedings will pursue the proceedings under its non-contentious jurisdiction, provided that the requirements laid down in Article 97 are previously met.

Paragraph II. The court’s decision can be appealed, according to common law.4

Chapter II On the Recognition of Legal Acts Performed Abroad

Article 92. Recognition of foreign decisions related to capacity, to family relations and to rights relating to personality. Foreign decisions related to the persons’ capacity, as well as to the existence of family relations or of rights relating to personality, have effect in the Dominican Republic when they have been issued by the authority of a state whose law is designated by the provisions of this Act or when they produce effects in that state’s legal system, even if they are issued by the authorities of a third state, provided they are not contrary to public policy and that the rights of defense have been respected.

Article 93. Recognition of foreign decisions of non-contentious jurisdiction. The foreign decisions of non-contentious jurisdiction are recognized without having to resort to any proceedings, provided the conditions laid down in Article 92 are met and applicable, when they have been issued by the authorities of the state whose law is designated by the provisions of this act or when they produce effects in the legal system of that state, even if they are issued by the authorities of a third state, or by a competent authority, based on the appropriate criteria of the Dominican legal system.

Article 94. Recognition of adoptions granted abroad. Adoptions granted abroad are recognized when they are granted in the state of the domicile or nationality of the adopting or adopted person.

Paragraph. Adoptions or similar institutions of foreign law whose effects in relation to the filiation bond are different from those recognized under Dominican law will not be recognized.

Article 95. Recognition of parent-child relations. Foreign decisions related to parent-child relations are recognized when they have been issued in the state of the domicile of the child or in the state of the domicile of the defendant father.

Article 96. Recognition of inheritance. The decisions or documents related to an inheritance and the rights derived from an inheritance initiated abroad are recognized when the following requirements are met:

  • when they have been issued in the state of the last domicile of the deceased person or in the state whose law was designated by the deceased person to govern the inheritance;

  • when they deal with immoveable assets and they have been issued in the state in which those assets are located.

Chapter III On the Evidentiary Effect of Foreign Public Documents

Article 97. Requirements the foreign public documents must meet. The evidentiary effect of foreign public documents is subject to the following requirements:

  • that in the conclusion or preparation of the document the requirements under the law of the issuing authority for it to be deemed conclusive in court are met;

  • p. 3155that the document contains the legalization or apostille and the other necessary requirements for its authenticity in the Dominican Republic.

Paragraph. When the foreign documents include declarations of intention, the existence thereof will be deemed proven, but their efficacy will be that which is determined by the Dominican and foreign norms on capacity, object, and form of the legal transactions.

Article 98. Prevalence of Spanish language. Every document written in a language which is not Spanish will be accompanied by its translation.

Paragraph I. Such translation can be made privately and if any of the parties challenges it within the next five days of its notification, indicating that they do not consider it true and accurate and expressing the reasons of the discrepancy, then regarding the part about which discrepancy exists the Legal Secretary will order an official translation of the document at the expense of the party which presented it.

Paragraph II. If the official translation carried out at the request of a party is identical to the private one, the costs derived from the translation will be assumed by the party which requested it.

Title V Final Provisions

  • First. Temporal scope of application. This Act applies to all proceedings initiated after the date of its entry into force, without prejudice to acquired rights.

  • Second. Entry into force. This Act enters into force as of its enactment and publication and once elapsed the terms laid down in the Dominican Republic Civil Code.

Unofficial translation by Rafael Carlos del Rosal Carmona, J.D. (Universidad Pontificia Comillas), LL.M. (New York University School of Law).

Translator’s note: The change in the expression ‘the person and the family’ in the title to ‘the person of the family’ in the body of the Article is also present in Spanish.

Translator’s note: sic.

Translator’s note: The concept ‘common law’ is not used here with the same meaning as in Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions. Here it seems to refer to the generally applicable law (ius commune) as opposed to the special laws for specific cases (ius singulare).