CHOICE OF LAW AND CHOICE OF JURISDICTION ISSUES IN THE GOOGLE CLAUSE 20.7

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“20.7 The Terms, and your relationships with Google under the Terms, shall be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to its conflict of laws provisions. You and Google agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within the county of Santa Clara, California to resolve any legal matter arising from the Terms. Notwithstanding this, you agree that Google shall still be allowed to apply for injunctive remedies (or an equivalent type of urgent legal relief) in any jurisdiction.”

     Conflict of laws or private international law according to Prof I.O Agbede is that part of private law of a country which deals with cases having a foreign element. By a foreign element is simply meant a contract which involves systems of law other than the domestic or internal laws of the country. According to Morris, “foreign element” in this perspective means a contract with some systems of law other than that of the forum that is the country where the courts are seized of the case e.g if a contract has been entered into by a Nigerian Company and a Ghanaian Company to be performed in Senegal, the case is within the scope of conflict of law. Conflict of laws is an all pervading subject which could spring up unexpectedly in any court or proceeding and involves four basic issues:
(a)  Choice of jurisdiction
(b)  Choice of law
(c)  Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgment
(d)  Time factor or the spatial application of law.
     Where choice of law is included in the clauses of a contract, it means the parties have specified that any dispute arising under the contract shall be determined in accordance with the law of a particular jurisdiction. The choice of law and choice of jurisdiction are stated in contracts because the subject matter of commercial contracts may expand beyond domestic intra-state activities into inter-state and international trade and commerce.
“The Terms, and your relationships with Google under the Terms, shall be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to its conflict of laws provisions…”
In this situation, the parties to the agreement are bound by the clause that should any controversy arise, the choice of law is the laws of the state of California (municipal laws) without regards to its conflict of law rules. This is also an application of the lex fori solution of characterization as put forward by German Franz Kahn, Frenchman Bartin and the late Prof Niboyet of Paris. By this solution, institutions are classified according to the law administered by the court in purely internal affairs of its own legal system, since classification is part of the municipal laws of a country.
     Further, the clause states, “You and Google agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts located within the county of Santa Clara, California to resolve any legal matter arising from the Terms…”
This expressly means that in the occurrence of any legal action from the contract between Google and its subscribers, the choice of jurisdiction are the courts within the county of Santa Clara, California.
The reasons for including clearly what the choice of law and choice of jurisdiction will be in any controversy are:
(1) To create a certainty of judicial rights and obligations such that the litigants would know beforehand exactly how any legal rule or institution would be classified
(2) To determine the validity and enforceability of the contract and its terms
(3) To determine the extent of the rights and obligations of the parties which are not expressly set out.
     Another issue arising is the last part of the clause stating, “Notwithstanding this, you agree that Google shall still be allowed to apply for injunctive remedies (or an equivalent type of urgent legal relief) in any jurisdiction.” 
This means that Google can sue the person( the other party to the contract, its subscribers) In any jurisdiction as is applicable to get injunctive relief or any equally urgent legal relief.

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