Florida Senate - 2013 SB 58 By Senator Hays 11-00039A-13 201358__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to application of foreign law in 3 certain cases; creating s. 45.022, F.S.; providing 4 intent; defining the term “foreign law, legal code, or 5 system”; clarifying that the public policies expressed 6 in the act apply to violations of a natural person’s 7 fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges 8 guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United 9 States Constitution; providing that the act does not 10 apply to a corporation, partnership, or other form of 11 business association, except when necessary to provide 12 effective relief in proceedings under or relating to 13 chapters 61 and 88, F.S.; specifying the public policy 14 of this state in applying the choice of a foreign law, 15 legal code, or system under certain circumstances in 16 proceedings brought under or relating to chapters 61 17 and 88, F.S., which relate to dissolution of marriage, 18 support, time-sharing, the Uniform Child Custody 19 Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and the Uniform 20 Interstate Family Support Act; declaring that certain 21 decisions rendered under such laws, codes, or systems 22 are void; declaring that certain choice of venue or 23 forum provisions in a contract are void; providing for 24 the construction of a waiver by a natural person of 25 the person’s fundamental liberties, rights, and 26 privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or the 27 United States Constitution; declaring that claims of 28 forum non conveniens or related claims must be denied 29 under certain circumstances; providing that the act 30 may not be construed to require or authorize any court 31 to adjudicate, or prohibit any religious organization 32 from adjudicating, ecclesiastical matters in violation 33 of specified constitutional provisions or to conflict 34 with any federal treaty or other international 35 agreement to which the United States is a party to a 36 specified extent; providing for severability; 37 providing an effective date. 38 39 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 40 41 Section 1. Section 45.022, Florida Statutes, is created to 42 read: 43 45.022 Application of foreign law contrary to public policy 44 in certain cases.— 45 (1) While the Legislature fully recognizes the right to 46 contract freely under the laws of this state, it also recognizes 47 that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed 48 pursuant to the state’s interest to protect and promote rights 49 and privileges granted under the State Constitution or the 50 United States Constitution. 51 (2) As used in this section, the term “foreign law, legal 52 code, or system” means any law, legal code, or system of a 53 jurisdiction outside any state or territory of the United 54 States, including, but not limited to, international 55 organizations or tribunals, and applied by that jurisdiction’s 56 courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal 57 tribunals. The term does not include the common law and statute 58 laws of England as described in s. 2.01 or any laws of the 59 Native American tribes in this state. 60 (3)(a) This section applies only to actual or foreseeable 61 denials of a natural person’s fundamental liberties, rights, and 62 privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United 63 States Constitution from the application of a foreign law, legal 64 code, or system in proceedings brought under, pursuant to, or 65 pertaining to the subject matter of chapter 61 or chapter 88. 66 (b) Except as necessary to provide effective relief in 67 proceedings brought under, pursuant to, or pertaining to the 68 subject matter of chapter 61 or chapter 88, this section does 69 not apply to a corporation, partnership, or other form of 70 business association. 71 (4) Any court, arbitration, tribunal, or administrative 72 agency ruling or decision violates the public policy of this 73 state and is void and unenforceable if the court, arbitration, 74 tribunal, or administrative agency bases its ruling or decision 75 in the matter at issue in whole or in part on any foreign law, 76 legal code, or system that does not grant the parties affected 77 by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, 78 rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or 79 the United States Constitution. 80 (5)(a) A contract or contractual provision, if severable, 81 that provides for the choice of a foreign law, legal code, or 82 system to govern some or all of the disputes between the parties 83 to be adjudicated by a court of law or by an arbitration panel 84 arising from the contract violates the public policy of this 85 state and is void and unenforceable if the foreign law, legal 86 code, or system chosen includes or incorporates any substantive 87 or procedural law, as applied to the dispute at issue, which 88 would not grant the parties the same fundamental liberties, 89 rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or 90 the United States Constitution. 91 (b) This subsection does not limit the right of a natural 92 person in this state to voluntarily restrict or limit his or her 93 fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the 94 State Constitution or the United States Constitution by contract 95 or specific waiver consistent with constitutional principles, 96 but the language of any such contract or other waiver must be 97 strictly construed in favor of preserving such liberties, 98 rights, and privileges. 99 (6)(a) If any contractual provision or agreement provides 100 for the choice of venue or forum outside a state or territory of 101 the United States, and if the enforcement or interpretation of 102 the contract or agreement applying that choice of venue or forum 103 provision would result in a violation of any fundamental 104 liberties, rights, and privileges guaranteed by the State 105 Constitution or the United States Constitution, that contractual 106 provision or agreement shall be interpreted or construed to 107 preserve such liberties, rights, and privileges of the person 108 against whom enforcement is sought. 109 (b) If a natural person who is subject to personal 110 jurisdiction in this state seeks to maintain litigation, 111 arbitration, agency, or similarly binding proceedings in this 112 state and the courts of this state find that granting a claim of 113 forum non conveniens or a related claim denies or would likely 114 lead to the denial of any fundamental liberties, rights, and 115 privileges guaranteed by the State Constitution or the United 116 States Constitution of the nonclaimant in the foreign forum with 117 respect to the matter in dispute, it is the public policy of 118 this state that the claim be denied. 119 (7) This section may not be construed to: 120 (a) Require or authorize any court to adjudicate, or 121 prohibit any religious organization from adjudicating, 122 ecclesiastical matters, including, but not limited to, the 123 election, appointment, calling, discipline, dismissal, removal, 124 or excommunication of a member, officer, official, priest, nun, 125 monk, pastor, rabbi, imam, or member of the clergy of the 126 religious organization, or determination or interpretation of 127 the doctrine of the religious organization, if such adjudication 128 or prohibition would violate s. 3, Art. I of the State 129 Constitution or the First Amendment to the United States 130 Constitution; or 131 (b) Conflict with any federal treaty or other international 132 agreement to which the United States is a party to the extent 133 that such federal treaty or international agreement preempts or 134 is superior to state law on the matter at issue. 135 (8) If any provision of this section or its application to 136 any natural person or circumstance is held invalid, the 137 invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of 138 this section which can be given effect, and to that end the 139 provisions of this section are severable. 140 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.