Florida Senate - 2014 SB 386 By Senator Hays 11-00143-14 2014386__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the application of foreign law in 3 certain cases; creating s. 45.022, F.S.; providing 4 legislative intent; defining the term “foreign law, 5 legal code, or system”; providing for applicability; 6 specifying the public policy of this state on the 7 application of a foreign law, legal code, or system in 8 proceedings brought under or relating to chapter 61 or 9 chapter 88, F.S., which relate to dissolution of 10 marriage, support, time-sharing, the Uniform Child 11 Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and the 12 Uniform Interstate Family Support Act; providing that 13 certain decisions rendered under such laws, codes, or 14 systems are void; providing that certain contracts and 15 contract provisions are void; providing for the 16 construction of a waiver by a natural person of the 17 person’s fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges 18 guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United 19 States Constitution; providing that claims of forum 20 non conveniens or related claims must be denied under 21 certain circumstances; providing that the act may not 22 be construed to require or authorize any court to 23 adjudicate, or prohibit any religious organization 24 from adjudicating, ecclesiastical matters in violation 25 of specified constitutional provisions or to conflict 26 with any federal treaty or other international 27 agreement to which the United States is a party to a 28 specified extent; providing for severability; 29 providing a directive to the Division of Law Revision 30 and Information; providing an effective date. 31 32 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 33 34 Section 1. Section 45.022, Florida Statutes, is created to 35 read: 36 45.022 Application of foreign law contrary to public policy 37 in certain cases.— 38 (1) While the Legislature fully recognizes the right to 39 contract freely under the laws of this state, it also recognizes 40 that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed 41 pursuant to the interest of the state to protect and promote 42 liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the State 43 Constitution or the United States Constitution. 44 (2) As used in this section, the term “foreign law, legal 45 code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a 46 foreign country, or a state, nation, or subdivision thereof, 47 outside the United States or its territories, including, but not 48 limited to, a foreign or international organization claiming the 49 status of a country, state, or nation or asserting legal 50 authority to act on behalf of one or more foreign countries, 51 states, nations, or any other similar international 52 organizations or tribunals, which is applied by that 53 jurisdiction’s courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or 54 informal tribunals. The term does not include the common law and 55 statute laws of England as described in s. 2.01 or any laws of 56 the Native American tribes in this state. 57 (3) This section applies: 58 (a) Only to actual or foreseeable denials of a natural 59 person’s fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges 60 guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United States 61 Constitution from the application of a foreign law, legal code, 62 or system in actions or proceedings brought under, pursuant to, 63 or pertaining to the subject matter of chapter 61 or chapter 88 64 and filed after the effective date of this act; and 65 (b) To a corporation, partnership, or other form of 66 business association only as necessary to provide effective 67 relief in actions or proceedings brought under, pursuant to, or 68 pertaining to the subject matter of chapter 61 or chapter 88. 69 (4) Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative 70 agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this 71 state and is void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, 72 tribunal, or administrative agency bases its ruling or decision 73 in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, 74 legal code, or system that does not grant the parties affected 75 by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, 76 rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or 77 the United States Constitution. 78 (5) A contract, or contractual provision, if severable, 79 violates the public policy of this state and is void and 80 unenforceable if: 81 (a) The contract or contractual provision provides for the 82 choice of a foreign law, legal code, or system to govern some or 83 all of the disputes arising from the contract between the 84 parties and the foreign law, legal code, or system chosen 85 includes or incorporates any substantive or procedural law, as 86 applied to the dispute at issue, which would deny the parties 87 the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges 88 guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United States 89 Constitution. This paragraph does not limit the right of a 90 natural person in this state to voluntarily restrict or limit 91 his or her fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges 92 guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United States 93 Constitution by contract or specific waiver consistent with 94 constitutional principles, but the language of any such contract 95 or waiver must be strictly construed in favor of preserving such 96 liberties, rights, and privileges; or 97 (b) The contract or contractual provision provides for the 98 choice of venue or choice of forum outside a state or territory 99 of the United States and the enforcement of the choice of venue 100 or choice of forum provision would result in a violation of any 101 fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the 102 State Constitution or the United States Constitution. 103 (6) If a natural person who is subject to personal 104 jurisdiction in this state seeks to maintain litigation, 105 arbitration, agency, or similarly binding proceedings in this 106 state and the courts of this state find that granting a claim of 107 forum non conveniens or a related claim denies or would likely 108 lead to the denial of any fundamental liberties, rights, and 109 privileges of the nonclaimant guaranteed by the State 110 Constitution or the United States Constitution in the foreign 111 forum with respect to the matter in dispute, it is the public 112 policy of this state that the claim be denied. 113 (7) This section may not be construed to: 114 (a) Require or authorize any court to adjudicate, or 115 prohibit any religious organization from adjudicating, 116 ecclesiastical matters, including, but not limited to, the 117 election, appointment, calling, discipline, dismissal, removal, 118 or excommunication of a member, officer, official, priest, nun, 119 monk, pastor, rabbi, imam, or member of the clergy of the 120 religious organization, or determination or interpretation of 121 the doctrine of the religious organization, if such adjudication 122 or prohibition would violate s. 3, Art. I of the State 123 Constitution or the First Amendment to the United States 124 Constitution; or 125 (b) Conflict with any federal treaty or other international 126 agreement to which the United States is a party to the extent 127 that such federal treaty or international agreement preempts or 128 is superior to state law on the matter at issue. 129 Section 2. If any provision of this act or its application 130 to any natural person or circumstance is held invalid, the 131 invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of 132 this act which can be given effect without the invalid provision 133 or application, and to that end the provisions of this act are 134 severable. 135 Section 3. The Division of Law Revision and Information is 136 directed to replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” 137 wherever it occurs in this act with the date this act becomes a 138 law. 139 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.