oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Conflicting laws of conflict in cases of international succession

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Under South African private international law, the choice of law in conflict cases on succession points to the general connecting factors of the situs in the case of immovables, and the last domicile of the testator or intestate in the case of movables. In other words, a single law shall govern the distribution of the movable estate (the advantage of this unitary principle being convenience), whereas in respect of immovables, the scission principle applies. The distribution of immovable property is determined by the lex situs of each immovable. Consequently, the immovable estate of the deceased is divided up according to where the immovables are situated and distributed according to the various leges situum. Although the scission principle has been criticised as causing excessive inconvenience, it is nevertheless still applied in a number of countries in regard to immovables, notably in Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Turkey, the common law countries and South Africa. This article illustrates how a collision between the choice-of-law rules of different countries can lead not only t different results, but can also bring about situations where it is believed to be impossible to find a convincing solution.

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