Dominican Republic: Law No. 544-14 On Private International Law In The Dominican Republic

Last Updated: 1 December 2017
Article by Pellerano & Herrera


The purpose of Law No. 544-14 is the regulation of International Private Re­lationships, which are those related to a foreign legal system, either in view of their objective elements, or the personal elements that conform the legal relation in question. In this sense, this law is focused on delineating three (3) key points concerning conflict of laws: (i) the jurisdiction of local courts; (ii) the applicable law regarding an international legal situation; and (iii) the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in our country. Administrative, arbitra­tion and bankruptcy procedures have been excluded from the scope of this law.

This law came into effect on December nineteenth (19th) two thousand four­teen (2014), and is applicable to all processes initiated after the date of its entry into force without prejudice to any previously acquired rights.


The main concept introduced by Law 544-14 is "International Private Rela­tions", this concept being the basis of the field of application of this law. The law further defines the following concepts:

(I) International Dispute: Any dispute that has an element characteristic of an International Private Relation.

(II) Dominican public order: Includes all regulations of our internal law which cannot be repealed by the parties.

(III) International Public Order: Group of prin­ciples in which the dominican legal system is inspired and reflect the values of society at the moment of their appreciation.

(IV) Domicile: Refers to the place of habitual residence. In the case of a natural person the law does not admit more than one domicile.

(V) Habitual Residence: For a natural person, it's the de facto place of main establishment, taking into consideration the personal and professional circumstances that can provide an enduring bond with a specific place; and for a legal entity it's the place in which it has its headquarters, administration or main ac­tivity, for the purpose of its identification, as established in Law No. 479-08, General Law of Societies.


The law establishes the general competence of dominican courts, which are competent for the knowledge of any disputes happen­ing at the time in the country, except in cases where there is a previously agreed upon fo­rum of choice, regardless of the nationality of the parties, who will have access to justice on equal terms. It was by means of this law that the legal provisions that established the foreigner or judicatum solvi bail, which was applicable to foreigners acting as plaintiffs, were formally and definitively repealed.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, within the specific powers granted under this law, we can list the following:

1) Exclusive Forums: Refers to matters that can only be known by local dominican courts; namely:

a) Those related to property rights and leases on property in dominican territory;

b) Constitution, validity, nullity, or dissolution of commercial companies domiciled in do­minican territory; also regarding agreements and decisions of their organs, when the afore­mentioned action affect their existence and operating norms;

c) Validity or nullity of registrations made in a dominican registry;

d) Registration or validity of a patent and oth­er rights submitted for deposit or registration when they have been requested in the Do­minican Republic;

e) Recognition and enforcement of judicial and arbitration decisions in dominican terri­tory;

f) Conservatory measures enforceable in the Dominican Republic; and,

g) Determination of dominican nationality.

2. Concurrent Forums: Refers to matters that can be known by both foreign courts and local dominican courts in specific circum­stances, as listed below:

a) Forums of Persons and Family Mat­ters: Dominican courts are competent for the knowledge of the following actions (i) declara­tion of disappearance or death; (ii) incapacity and actions related to protection of the per­son or property of the disabled; (iii) related to personal and patrimonial relationships be­tween spouses; (iv) issues relating to filiation; (v) for the constitution of adoption; (iv) alimo­ny when one of the parties has residence in the Dominican Republic, as applicable in each case.

b) Forums of Property Rights: In this mat­ter, the local courts will be competent for the knowledge of actions, related to: (i) contrac­tual obligations and non-contractual obliga­ tions, when they should be executed in the Dominican Republic, or if the parties have residence in the Dominican Republic; (ii) ex­ploitation of a branch office, agency or busi­ness establishment located in the country; (iii) consumer contracts, if the consumer lives in the Dominican Republic; (iv) insurance when the beneficiary is domiciled in the country, or the damage was produced in dominican ter­ritory; (v) moveable assets located in domini­can territory, and (vi) when the causative of a succession has had his last domicile, or has movable assets in the Dominican Republic.

3. Forum Election Agreement: For any other matter not mentioned previously, local courts will be competent when: (i) the defendant is domiciled in dominican territory or is reputed to be; or, (ii) when the involved parties have selected these courts, tacitly or explicitly, without any formality other than it being in written form.

Forum election agreements for contracts cel­ebrated by consumers, in matters of insur­ance and actions related to moveable prop­erty located in dominican territory, will only be valid if: (i) the election of forum is made after the dispute has initiated; (ii) the parties were domiciled in dominican territory when the re­lationship started; or (iii) the defendant is the consumer, employee, insured, policyholder, injured or insurance beneficiary.

Other limitations related to competence

  • In case of multiple defendants, local courts are competent if at least one of the defen­dants are domiciled in the Dominican Re­public;
  • In case of multiple pending cases on the same subject, as long as the cases are not related to matters where local jurisdiction is the exclusive forum, local courts will suspend the process until foreign courts pronounce themselves about their com­petence. Once this has taken place, this exception will be admitted, therefore local courts will remit the case whenever a for­eign court declares itself competent based on a forum of competence considered as reasonable;
  • In case of incompetence, it can be declared by order of the courts when the defendant does not present himself to the court in the cases governed by the law in question; and,
  • The procedural law applicable to each case must be the one currently in force when the action was introduced; it cannot be modified until the trial has concluded.

New Procedural Figures

(i) Forum Necessitatis: This figure allows dominican courts to know any case, in spite of not being competent for their knowledge, when elements of the case are associated to the Dominican Republic and if (a) no other for­eign courts are competent to know the case; and/or, (b) the Dominican Republic denies ex­ecution of the foreign judgment of the per­taining case.

(ii) Non Convenient Competence Forum (Forum Non Coveniens): It allows local courts to remit a case they are competent to know if the need arose for the celebration of: (a) testimonial evidence from witnesses who reside abroad and their traveling to the coun­try, or the celebration of this recollection of evidence in another country, would be very expensive for the parties; or (b) a judicial in­ spection abroad to improve the appreciation of the case.

Download >> Law No. 544-14 on Private International Law in the Dominican Republic

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions