If I sell a large item (example car/caravan/boat) from the UK in a private deal to a person in a country in the EU, which countries laws (apply in the event of a dispute)?

2 Answers 2


I could be either, or both. In a contract of sale, the parties can specify what jurisdiction's law it shall be interpreted under, and such provisions are usually honored. In the absence of such a provision, a party could bring suit in either country, provided that the courts of that country re able to secure jurisdiction over the other party.



All the laws of each country apply to the extent of their territorial or subject matter jurisdiction. So, for your example, the export laws of the US apply and the import laws of the EU country apply.

The parties can nominate what law the contract is to be interpreted under using a choice of law clause. It must be a country that has some link to the contract and, usually, the request will be honoured. However, this only applies to contractural disputes, other laws are unaffected.

Also, it is not uncommon for certain laws relating to the contract to be non-excludable, for example, consumer protection laws usually can’t be contracted out of. Those laws continue to apply even if the rest of the contract is interpreted under some other law.

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