Private law effects of the non-recognition of states' existence and territorial changes

AuthorIoan-Luca Vlad
PositionPhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, 'Nicolae Titulescu' University of Bucharest (e-mail:
Ioan-Luca VLAD*
The study presents an outline of the effects in private law (including private international law)
of the non-recognition of a state or a change of territory. Specifically, it addresses the question of what
measures can another state take, in the field of private law, in order to give effect to its policy of not
recognizing a state or a territorial annexation, and, in parallel, what are the means available to private
parties with links to the unrecognized state or territory. The study is structured in two parts, namely 1)
the effects in private law of the non-recognition of a state; and 2) the effect in private law of the non-
recognition of an annexation of territory. I will make specific references in particular to the situation
in Transnistria and Crimea, as examples of the two issues being addressed. The study intends to be a
guide of past and present state practice at the legislative and judicial level, as well as presenting the
connections between instruments of public international law, such as Sanctions Resolutions of the UN
Security Council, and normative instruments of private law, such as rules of civil procedure, which
must adapt to the policy of non-recognition adopted by (or imposed on) states. The study also presents
specific examples of situations or administrative practices which create practical problems, and result
from the existence of a non-recognized entity or change of territory: issues like air traffic coordination,
postal traffic, the change in the official currency of a territory, questions of citizenship etc., the aim
being to present the reader with a full picture of the issues and intricacies resulting from irregularities
existing at the level of the international community of states.
Keywords: recognition, private law, conflict of laws, annexation, independence1.
1. Introduction
This study is proposed as a bridge
between public and private international
law. It covers two situations which appear in
public international law, namely the
proclamation of independ ence of a new
state, and the annexation of territory, but
which suffer from issues of legality on the
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, “Nicolae Titulescu” University of Bucharest (e-mail:
This paper has been financially supported within the project entitled „Horizon 2020 – Doctoral and
Postdoctoral Studies: Promoting the National Interest through Excellence, Competitivness and Responsibility in
the Field of Romanian Fundamental and Applied Scientific Research, contract number
POSDRU/159/1.5/S/140106. This project is co-financed by European Social Fund through Sectoral Operational
Programme for Human Resources Development 2007-2013. Investing in people!
international sphere, and thus are not
recognized by the (vast majo rity of the)
community of states. These situations,
which involve a (purported) change in the
sovereignty over a territory and a
population, produce effects not only in
public international law, but also in the
conflict of laws situations, where a particular
legal relation can be localized, with the help
of conflictual r ules of the forum, to the

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