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Last update: 30-05-2007
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Applicable law - Lithuania

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Sources of the rules in force I.
I.1. National rules. I.1.
I.2. Multilateral international conventions in force. I.2.
I.3. Non exhaustive list of bilateral conventions most frequently applied by the courts. I.3.
II. Implementation of conflict of laws’ rules II.
II.1. Obligation of the judge to apply conflict of laws’ rules on his/her own initiative. II.1.
II.2. Renvoi. II.2.
II.3. Change of connecting factor. II.3.
II.4. Exceptions to the normal application of the conflict rules. II.4.
II.5. Proof of foreign law. II.5.
III. Conflict of laws’ rules III.
III.1. Contractual obligations and legal acts. III.1.
III.2. Non-contractual obligations (torts and delicts, unjust enrichment, negotiorum gestio, etc.). III.2.
III.3. The personal status, its aspects relating to the civil status (name, domicile, capacity). III.3.
III.4. Establishment of parent-child relationship, including adoption. III.4.
III.5. Marriage, unmarried couples, partnerships, divorce, judicial separation, maintenance obligation. III.5.
III.6. Matrimonial property regimes. III.6.
III.7. Wills and successions. III.7.
III.8. Real property. III.8.
III.9. Insolvency. III.9.

 

I. Sources of the rules in force

I.1. National rules.

The main sources of the conflict of laws’ rules are the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as “the Code”) and the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania. Article 1.13 of the Code provides that where the provisions established in the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania are different from those determined by the present Code and other laws of the Republic of Lithuania, the provisions of the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania shall apply.

I.2. Multilateral international conventions in force.

See the attached list PDF File (PDF File 9 KB) for the multilateral international conventions in force in Lithuania.

The list of presented conventions is not complete. Please note, that the multilateral international conventions in force in Lithuania can be found in www.urm.lt.

I.3. Non exhaustive list of bilateral conventions most frequently applied by the courts.

See the attached list PDF File (PDF File 9 KB) for the bilateral conventions in force Lithuania.

II. Implementation of conflict of laws’ rules

II.1. Obligation of the judge to apply conflict of laws’ rules on his/her own initiative.

The application of choice of law rules arises when the civil case or legal relations has a foreign (or international) element. The part 1 of the Article 1.10 of the Code states that foreign law shall apply to civil relationships where it is so provided for by the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania, agreements between the parties or the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

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II.2. Renvoi.

If the applicable foreign law refers back to the Lithuanian law, that reference shall be observed only in the instances provided for by the Code or the foreign law.

If the applicable foreign law refers to the law of a third state, that reference shall be observed only in the instances provided for by the Code or the law of the third state.

If in the matters of determining the civil legal status of a person, the applicable foreign law refers back to the law of the Republic of Lithuania, such reference shall be observed.

The above mentioned paragraphs of the described Article shall not apply in the instances where the applicable law has been chosen by the parties to a transaction, likewise in determining the applicable law to the form of a transaction and to non-contractual obligations.

II.3. Change of connecting factor.

There are no special national rules regulating the situation of the change of connecting factor.

II.4. Exceptions to the normal application of the conflict rules.

The provisions of foreign law shall not be applied where the application thereof might be inconsistent with the public order established by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and other laws.

Mandatory provisions of laws of the Republic of Lithuania or those of any other state most closely related with a dispute shall be applicable regardless of the fact that another foreign law has been agreed upon by the parties.

The applicable foreign law may not be given effect where, in the light of all attendant circumstances of the case, it becomes evident that the foreign law concerned is clearly not pertinent to the case or its part, with the case in question being more closely connected with the law of another state. This provision shall not apply where the applicable law is determined by the agreement of the parties.

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II.5. Proof of foreign law.

According to the Article 1.12 of the Code in the cases established by the international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania or by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania, the application, interpretation and determination of the content of foreign law shall be performed by the court ex officio (on its own initiative). In the instances where the application of foreign law is established upon agreement between the parties, the burden of proof in relation to the content of the applicable foreign law in accordance with its official interpretation, practice of application and the law doctrine in the relevant foreign state, shall be imposed on the disputing party that refers to the foreign law. If the court or the disputing party that refers to foreign law fails to perform the obligation indicated above, the law of the Republic of Lithuania shall apply.

III. Conflict of laws’ rules

III.1. Contractual obligations and legal acts.

The main national source of the legal rules regulating the law applicable to contractual obligations is the Code. Please note, that the 1980 Rome Convention is not yet in force in the Republic of Lithuania.

The essential rule which is provided by the Code is lex conventionalis, i.e. the law agreed by the parties is applicable to the contractual obligations. Such agreement of the parties may be expressed in the form of separate terms of the concluded contract or it may be determined in accordance with the factual circumstances of the case.

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If no law applicable to a contractual obligation is designated by the agreement of the contracting parties, the rule lex conveniens shall apply, i.e. the law of the state with which the contractual obligation is most closely connected shall apply.
III.2. Non-contractual obligations (torts and delicts, unjust enrichment, negotiorum gestio, etc.).

Rights and obligations of the parties resulting from tort shall be governed, at the choice of the aggrieved party, either by the law of the state where the tortious act was committed or any other tortious circumstances occurred, or by the law of the state in which the damage occurred. After the incurrence of damage, the parties may agree that the law applicable to the reparation for damage shall be the law of the state where the case concerned is being heard. Terms of civil liability, its extent, the person liable and the terms of release from civil liability shall be governed by the law applicable to the obligations resulting from the delictual obligations.

Claims related with unjust enrichment resulting from unlawful actions shall be governed by the law of the state where such unlawful actions were performed. Where reception of a thing not due or unjust enrichment occurs from the existing legal relationship between the parties, the law determining that legal relationship shall apply.

Obligations deriving from management of affairs of another shall be governed by the law of the state where the grounds for the obligation occurred.

III.3. The personal status, its aspects relating to the civil status (name, domicile, capacity).

Rules applicable to the civil legal status of natural persons are also essentially defined by the Code.

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Foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Lithuania shall possess the same civil capacity as the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania. Civil active capacity of foreign citizens or stateless persons shall be governed by the laws of their state of domicile.

Being an expression of person’s relationship with the state or part of its territory, domicile of a natural person shall be that state or its part, in which he permanently or ordinarily resides, regarding that state or its part to be the seat of his personal, social and economic interests. A person called to a temporary or revocable public office shall retain his domicile. Domicile of a natural person shall be deemed unchanged until he changes it to another domicile. Domicile of a married person shall not depend on the domicile of his spouse, although the domicile of one of the spouses is the fact, which has to be taken into consideration in establishing the domicile of the other spouse. Domicile of legally incapable natural person shall be deemed to be the domicile of his guardian if the guardian and his ward reside in the same state. Domicile of minor natural persons shall be deemed to be the domicile of their parents or guardians (foster parents).

The parties to a contract shall enjoy the right to choose, in writing, domicile with the view to the performance of the contract and the exercise of the rights arising from the said contract.

III.4. Establishment of parent-child relationship, including adoption.

The origin of a child (ascertainment or contest of paternity or maternity) shall be established either in accordance with the law of the state the citizenship of which the child acquired at his birth, or with the law of the state which is recognized as the domicile of the child at the time of his birth, or with the law of the state in which one of the child’s parents is domiciled, or with the law of the state the citizen of which one of the parents was at the time of the child’s birth, whichever is more beneficial to the child.

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Personal and property relationships between the parents and the child shall be governed by the law of the state of the child’s domicile. If neither parent is domiciled in the state of the child’s domicile, while the child and the parents are citizens of the same state, the law of the state of their common citizenship shall apply.

Relationships of adoption shall be governed by the law of the state of the child’s domicile. Where it becomes evident that the adoption performed according to the law of the state of the child’s domicile will not be recognized in the state of domicile or citizenship of the adoptive parents, the adoption may be performed pursuant to the law of the state of domicile or citizenship of the adopter if this will not prejudice the best interests of the child. If the recognition of adoption remains uncertain, the adoption shall not be allowed. Relations between the adopted person on the one side, and the adopting persons and the relatives of the latter on the other side shall be governed by the law of the state of the adopters’ domicile.

Law applicable to protection of minors, their guardianship and curatorship shall be determined pursuant to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 concerning the Powers of Authorities and the Law Applicable in Respect of the Protection of Minors.

III.5. Marriage, unmarried couples, partnerships, divorce, judicial separation, maintenance obligation.

Matrimonial capacity and other conditions to contract marriage shall be governed by the law of the Republic of Lithuania.

The procedure of contracting marriage shall be determined in accordance with the law of the state where the marriage is solemnized.

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Personal relations between spouses shall be governed by the law of the state of their domicile. Where the spouses have never had a common domicile, the law applicable to their personal relations shall be the law of the state to which the personal relations between the spouses are the most closely related. Where it is not possible to determine to the law of which state the personal relations between the spouses are the most closely related, the law of the state where the marriage was solemnized shall apply.

Maintenance obligations (alimony) within the family shall be governed by the Hague Convention of 2 October 1973 on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations.

Separation and dissolution of marriage shall be governed by the law of the spouses’ state of domicile. If the spouses do not have their common domicile, the law of the state of their last common domicile shall apply, or failing that, the law of the state where the case is tried.

III.6. Matrimonial property regimes.

The matrimonial property legal regime shall be governed by the law of the state of domicile of the spouses. Where the spouses are domiciled in different states, the law of their common state of citizenship shall apply. Where the spouses have never had a common domicile and are citizens of different states, the law of the state where the marriage was solemnized shall apply. The law applicable to contractual legal regime of matrimonial property shall be determined by the law of the state chosen by the spouses upon agreement.

III.7. Wills and successions.

The capacity of making, amending or revoking a will shall be governed by the law of the state of the testator’s domicile. The form of a will, its amendment or revocation shall be governed by the law of the state where these acts are performed. A will as well as its amendment or revocation shall also be valid in regard of the form if the form of the indicated acts is in compliance with the requirements of the law of the state of the testator’s domicile, or those of the laws of the state whose citizen the testator was at the time when the relevant acts were performed, or the law of the state of the testator’s residence at the time when those acts were performed or at the time of his death or the law of the state where the immovable thing is located.

Other legal relationships of succession, with the exception of those related with inheritance of immovable things, shall be governed by the law of the state of domicile of the testator at the time of his death. Relations of succession in respect of an immovable thing shall be governed by the law of the state where the immovable thing is located.

III.8. Real property.

The general principle stated in the Code is lex rei sitae - the ownership right and other real rights in an immovable and movable thing shall be governed by the law of the state where the thing was situated at the moment of change of its legal status. Acknowledgement of a thing to be movable or immovable shall be governed by the law of the state in which the relevant thing is located.

III.9. Insolvency.

The general conflict of laws’ rule applicable to insolvency matters is lex societatis – i.e. the insolvency matters shall be governed by the laws of the state where the insolvent persons or organizations are founded.

Besides, the rules set in the Council regulation (EC) No 1346/2000 of 29 May 2000 on insolvency proceedings are applicable.

« Applicable law - General information | Lithuania - General information »

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Last update: 30-05-2007

 
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