Boys v Chaplin

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Boys v Chaplin
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Court House of Lords
Full case name David Boys v Richard Chaplin
Citation(s) [1971] AC 356
[1969] 2 All ER 1085
Case history
Prior action(s) [1967] EWCA Civ 3

Boys v Chaplin [1971] AC 356 is a leading conflict of laws case decided by the House of Lords.


The plaintiff, a passenger on a motorcycle, was injured through the negligence of the defendant whose car had hit the motorcycle. The plaintiff and defendant were British soldiers stationed in Malta.


The Court modified the test in Phillips v Eyre on whether a court can assume jurisdiction over a tort that occurred in another country by requiring "double actionability". Originally the subject matter had to be actionable in both the foreign and local jurisdiction. However, Boys v Chaplin stated that it only had to be "civilly actionable" under the law of the forum; where the lex fori had a much closer connection with the dispute, the lex loci delicti limb of the "double actionability" rule could be disapplied.

Dicey & Morris, in relation to the flexible exception, states: “a particular issue between the parties... may be governed by the law of the country which, in respect to that issue, has the most significant relationship with the occurrence and the parties”

This exception was furthered in Red Sea Insurance v Bouygues SA [1995] 1 AC 190 which provided that this exception can displace either the law of the forum or the law of the tort such that a tort may be actionable even though it is not actionable under the lex fori or lex loci delicti.

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