Dominican Republic: Law No. 544-14 On Private International Law In The Dominican Republic

Last Updated: 6 January 2018
Article by Pellerano & Herrera

I. PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The purpose of Law No. 544-14 is the regulation of International Private Re­lationships, which are those related to a foreign legal system, either in view of their objective elements, or the personal elements that conform the legal relation in question. In this sense, this law is focused on delineating three (3) key points concerning conflict of laws: (i) the jurisdiction of local courts; (ii) the applicable law regarding an international legal situation; and (iii) the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in our country. Administrative, arbitra­tion and bankruptcy procedures have been excluded from the scope of this law.

This law came into effect on December nineteenth (19th) two thousand four­teen (2014), and is applicable to all processes initiated after the date of its entry into force without prejudice to any previously acquired rights.

II. MAIN CONCEPTS

The main concept introduced by Law 544-14 is "International Private Rela­tions", this concept being the basis of the field of application of this law. The law further defines the following concepts:

(I) International Dispute: Any dispute that has an element characteristic of an International Private Relation.

(II) Dominican public order: Includes all regulations of our internal law which cannot be repealed by the parties.

(III) International Public Order: Group of prin­ciples in which the dominican legal system is inspired and reflect the values of society at the moment of their appreciation.

(IV) Domicile: Refers to the place of habitual residence. In the case of a natural person the law does not admit more than one domicile.

(V) Habitual Residence: For a natural person, it's the de facto place of main establishment, taking into consideration the personal and professional circumstances that can provide an enduring bond with a specific place; and for a legal entity it's the place in which it has its headquarters, administration or main ac­tivity, for the purpose of its identification, as established in Law No. 479-08, General Law of Societies.

III. JURISDICTION OF LOCAL COURTS

The law establishes the general competence of dominican courts, which are competent for the knowledge of any disputes happen­ing at the time in the country, except in cases where there is a previously agreed upon fo­rum of choice, regardless of the nationality of the parties, who will have access to justice on equal terms. It was by means of this law that the legal provisions that established the foreigner or judicatum solvi bail, which was applicable to foreigners acting as plaintiffs, were formally and definitively repealed.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, within the specific powers granted under this law, we can list the following:

1) Exclusive Forums: Refers to matters that can only be known by local dominican courts; namely:

a) Those related to property rights and leases on property in dominican territory;

b) Constitution, validity, nullity, or dissolution of commercial companies domiciled in do­minican territory; also regarding agreements and decisions of their organs, when the afore­mentioned action affect their existence and operating norms;

c) Validity or nullity of registrations made in a dominican registry;

d) Registration or validity of a patent and oth­er rights submitted for deposit or registration when they have been requested in the Do­minican Republic;

e) Recognition and enforcement of judicial and arbitration decisions in dominican terri­tory;

f) Conservatory measures enforceable in the Dominican Republic; and,

g) Determination of dominican nationality.

2. Concurrent Forums: Refers to matters that can be known by both foreign courts and local dominican courts in specific circum­stances, as listed below:

a) Forums of Persons and Family Mat­ters: Dominican courts are competent for the knowledge of the following actions (i) declara­tion of disappearance or death; (ii) incapacity and actions related to protection of the per­son or property of the disabled; (iii) related to personal and patrimonial relationships be­tween spouses; (iv) issues relating to filiation; (v) for the constitution of adoption; (iv) alimo­ny when one of the parties has residence in the Dominican Republic, as applicable in each case.

b) Forums of Property Rights: In this mat­ter, the local courts will be competent for the knowledge of actions, related to: (i) contrac­tual obligations and non-contractual obliga­ tions, when they should be executed in the Dominican Republic, or if the parties have residence in the Dominican Republic; (ii) ex­ploitation of a branch office, agency or busi­ness establishment located in the country; (iii) consumer contracts, if the consumer lives in the Dominican Republic; (iv) insurance when the beneficiary is domiciled in the country, or the damage was produced in dominican ter­ritory; (v) moveable assets located in domini­can territory, and (vi) when the causative of a succession has had his last domicile, or has movable assets in the Dominican Republic.

3. Forum Election Agreement: For any other matter not mentioned previously, local courts will be competent when: (i) the defendant is domiciled in dominican territory or is reputed to be; or, (ii) when the involved parties have selected these courts, tacitly or explicitly, without any formality other than it being in written form.

Forum election agreements for contracts cel­ebrated by consumers, in matters of insur­ance and actions related to moveable prop­erty located in dominican territory, will only be valid if: (i) the election of forum is made after the dispute has initiated; (ii) the parties were domiciled in dominican territory when the re­lationship started; or (iii) the defendant is the consumer, employee, insured, policyholder, injured or insurance beneficiary.

Other limitations related to competence

  • In case of multiple defendants, local courts are competent if at least one of the defen­dants are domiciled in the Dominican Re­public;
  • In case of multiple pending cases on the same subject, as long as the cases are not related to matters where local jurisdiction is the exclusive forum, local courts will suspend the process until foreign courts pronounce themselves about their com­petence. Once this has taken place, this exception will be admitted, therefore local courts will remit the case whenever a for­eign court declares itself competent based on a forum of competence considered as reasonable;
  • In case of incompetence, it can be declared by order of the courts when the defendant does not present himself to the court in the cases governed by the law in question; and,
  • The procedural law applicable to each case must be the one currently in force when the action was introduced; it cannot be modified until the trial has concluded.

New Procedural Figures

(i) Forum Necessitatis: This figure allows dominican courts to know any case, in spite of not being competent for their knowledge, when elements of the case are associated to the Dominican Republic and if (a) no other for­eign courts are competent to know the case; and/or, (b) the Dominican Republic denies ex­ecution of the foreign judgment of the per­taining case.

(ii) Non Convenient Competence Forum (Forum Non Coveniens): It allows local courts to remit a case they are competent to know if the need arose for the celebration of: (a) testimonial evidence from witnesses who reside abroad and their traveling to the coun­try, or the celebration of this recollection of evidence in another country, would be very expensive for the parties; or (b) a judicial in­ spection abroad to improve the appreciation of the case.

Download >> Law No. 544-14 on Private International Law in the Dominican Republic

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions