By:-     Name- Sanjana Tripathy                                                                                                                                                     

 5th Year Learner    Symbiosis Law School, Noida

 Dépeçage is a French word which means “cutting up, dismembering, carving up.” Legally, it implies the court’s use of different state laws to different issues in a legal dispute, choice of law on an issue-by-issue basis. It is a procedure of cutting up a case into individual issues, each subject to separate choice-of-law analysis. Specifically, the doctrine of dépeçage states that different substantive issues in a tort case may be settled under laws of different states where the choices which impact decisions contrast.[1]

Issue-by-issue analysis implies that, if a case (or, to be more precise, a cause of action) includes more than one issue on which the substantive laws of the involved states conflict, each issue ought to be subjected to a different choice-of-law analysis. In the event that such an analysis prompts the utilization of the substantive laws of various states to the distinctive issues, at that point the subsequent phenomenon is called dépeçage. Thus it is the use of the substantive laws of various states to various issues of a similar cause of action.

Dépeçage alludes to an idea in the conflict of laws whereby distinctive issues in a specific case might be governed by the laws of various states. In common law nations, dépeçage is normally used to allude to a single contract which gives that distinctive parts of the agreement will be governed by various laws.[2]

The Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws made an endeavor to abridge the idea of choice of law in American courts under "significant relationship test." Section 6 of the Restatement presented the different contemplations of interest analysis as:[3]

  1. the requirements of the interstate and global frameworks,
  2. the pertinent policies of the forum,
  3. the pertinent policies of other interested states and the relative interests of those states in the determination of the specific issue,
  4. the protection of justified desires,
  5. the essential strategies underlying the specific field of law,
  6. certainty, predictability and consistency of result, and
  7. ease in the determination and use of the law to be connected.

From the Restatement, Section 145 turned into the communicated language of the principle of depecage. This section presented this idea as:

  1. The rights and liabilities of the parties regarding an issue in tort are controlled by the local law of the state which, with respect for that issue, has the most significant relationship to the event and the parties under the standards expressed in Section 6.
  2. Contacts to be considered in applying the standards of Section 6 to decide the law appropriate to an issue include:
  3. the place where the damage happened,
  4. the place where the conduct causing the damage happened,
  5. the habitation, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, and
  6. the place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is focused.

These contacts are to be assessed by their relative significance regarding the specific issue. Consequently, by calling for the choice-of-law analysis for specific issue and by providing contacts to be taken into consideration, the Restatement lays a system for the application of dépeçage.

Article 4.2 of the Paraguayan Law, imitating Article 2.2 of the Hague Principles, expresses that the parties may pick the law relevant to the entire contract or to just piece of it; they may likewise pick diverse laws related to various parts of the agreement, given that they be plainly recognized. Hence, dépeçage, a deduction of the gathering self-rule guideline, is unmistakably acknowledged, in accordance with Rome I (Article 3(1)3) and the Mexico Convention (Article 7). In practice, dépeçage is visit in universal transactions in regards to circumstances relating to the currency of the contract, or particular clauses related with the execution of specific obligations, for example, acquiring legislative approvals, and in addition repayment or obligation statements.[4]


The legal concepts which are the driving force of dépeçage are as follows:-

  1. Federalism- When the government was made, certain forces beforehand subject to state expert were vested in the administrative government. Because each state surrendered similar forces to the national government, states still had indistinguishable powers after the formation of the central government. While every one of the states have a similar authority, it was normal that the states will practice these forces in an unexpected way. The states are permitted without a doubt, expected to differ on substantive issues. The most important parts of federalism is the that courts and commentators every now and again have perceived as the fifty state research facilities, which accommodate the advancement of new social, financial, and political thoughts. Moreover, federalism safeguards the capacity of residents to learn democratic based procedures through participation in local government and to administer their local issues. In this way, federalism improves states' capacity to differ with one another making the environment essential for the utilization of dépeçage. Federalism and its formation of state power add to choice-of-law issues in light of the fact that each state is free, and even supported, to build up its very own sovereign body of law. Be that as it may, courts pay a high cost for federalism in the tremendous test of respecting each state's sovereignty. Legal resources, including time and exertion, are spent endeavoring to respect each state's sovereignty in deciding whose law will apply. Utilization of one federal body of law to all multi-state activities would monitor legal resources.


  1. Advocacy- The second foundation of dépeçage and advanced decision of law is the idea of advocacy. An attorney will act with sensible persistence and instantaneousness in representing a client. Lawyers should tirelessly advocate for their clients. Carrying out this charge regularly calls for lawyers to battle that one state's law ought to apply over another. If there is a remote possibility that a more liberal state's law will offer a victim more remuneration, an offended party's lawyer will regularly seek after the utilization of that state's law. Likewise, a lawyer defending the defendant will be similarly determined that a more conservative state's law ought to apply. Along these lines, courts are faced with movements to apply whichever state's law best helps each party's position. In the event that neither one of the parties cared which state's law ought to apply, a court's activity in picking pertinent law would be substantially less demanding.


  1. Prevention of Forum Shopping- The third driving force of dépeçage and cutting edge choice- of-law standards is the objective of avoiding "forum shopping." The objective of Erie Railroad Co. Tompkins[6], in recommending consistency among government and state courts, was to avert forum shopping between those court frameworks. While Erie manages 51 state and federal courts, a similar peril of forum shopping happens among states when a lex fori choice-of-law approach is utilized. In the event that there were a uniform rule that the law of the forum governs a case, the issue would emerge that every injured victims would rush to record their case in a court with the most favourable law for their situation. In this manner, a surge of suit would result in only certain forums. In the meantime, declining to apply the law of the courts to a cause of action requires selecting which state's law will apply.


Babcock v. Jackson[7] was a single-issue conflict therefore the court did not have to turn to dépeçage i.e applying the laws of two different states. Be that as it may, the court plainly flagged its preparation to take part in dépeçage by expressing in announcement that it would have applied Ontario law had the issue identified with the way in which the defendant had been driving his car at the time of the mishap or to the defendant’s activity of due consideration. Through this proclamation, the court articulated a critical difference between:

  1. issues of conduct regulation, for example, regardless of whether the defendant offended against a rule of the street recommended by Ontario for drivers generally or whether he disregarded some standard of lead forced by that purview; and
  2. loss distribution issues, for example, the one really involved with Babcock, to be specific, regardless of whether the plaintiff, since she was a visitor in the defendant’s vehicle, is banned from recovering damages for a wrong concededly committed.

Receiving the similar difference, the Restatement (Second) adopted the application of laws of various laws to these two classifications of issues: For instance, a state has an undeniable enthusiasm for directing the conduct of people inside its region and in giving redress to wounds that happened there. Along these lines, subject only to special cases, the local law of the state where conduct and damage happened will be applied to decide if the actor fulfilled minimum guidelines of acceptable conduct and whether the interest influenced by the actor’s conduct was qualified for lawful protection. Then again, the local law of the state where the parties are domiciled might be applied to decide if one party is unsusceptible from tort risk to the next whether a visitor traveler has a privilege of activity against the driver of a vehicle for wounds endured because of the latter's carelessness or whether tort claims emerging from the damage survive the death of the tortfeasor. Babcock involved just the latter issue, the visitor traveler's entitlement to sue the host-driver, and the court connected to it the law of New York, the party's residence. A dépeçage would have happened if Babcock likewise involved one of the issues portrayed in the principal section of the above-cited extract—i.e., regardless of whether the driver's conduct abused an Ontario traffic rule and the court had connected Ontario law to that issue.

In In re Air Crash at Belle Harbor[8], the court recognized the principle of depecage i.e. that in a single action, different states may have different degrees of interests with respect to different operative facts and elements of a claim or defense.

In In re Air Crash Disaster near Chicago[9], applying California choice of law, the Court specifically affirmed the principle of depeçage stating that critical to conflicts analysis is the notion that must be examined the choice-of-law rules not with regard to various states’ interest in general, but accurately, with regard to each state’s interest in the specific question of punitive damages.


In undertaking an issue-by-issue analysis, a court faces much better chances. In fact, the court risks for all intents and purposes nothing, aside from maybe a couple of long periods of additional work, by undertaking an analysis that is more probable than the conventional wholesale analysis to yield more nuanced and individualized answers for dispute cases. It bears repeating that:

  1. issue-by-issue analysis does not generally prompt dépeçage;
  2. when it does, the outcome isn't really mixed up or generally problematic; and,
  3. when it is, a court can without much of a stretch maintain a strategic distance from it.

While issue-by-issue investigation is for the most part gainful on the grounds that it brings the required adaptability into the choice-law-process, dépeçage in theory is neither great nor awful, neither a universal cure nor an abomination. At the point when dépeçage happens and it happens less regularly than normally expected—it is harmless in many cases and inappropriate in a couple of cases.

  1. In a few cases (as in Babcock), there is just a single debated choice-of-law issue. In those cases, the court applies one law, and therefore there is no dépeçage.
  2. In different cases, there are at least two debated choice-of-law issues yet the court applies a similar law to all issues. Once more, there is no dépeçage.
  3. In different cases, the court applies the laws of various states to at least two questioned choice-of-law issues. In those cases, and just in those cases, there is dépeçage. In a portion of those cases, dépeçage is absolutely unproblematic and harmless in light of the fact that the applicable laws are totally harmonious.
  4. In the remaining few cases, dépeçage might be troublesome, for example, when used to fragment issues related to a typical reason or to legitimatize a buffet approach which adjusts only to the advantage of the party picking and choosing.


[1] Christopher G. Stevenson, The Origins of Depecage, Depecage: Embracing Complexity to Solve Choice-of-Law Issues (26th September, 2018, 1:21pm)

[2] Depecage Law and Legal Definition (28th September, 2018, 11:30am)

[3] Supra. See note 1.

[4] Jose Antonio Moreno Rodriguez, The New Paraguayan Law on International Contracts: Back to the Past? (26th September, 2018, 2:08pm)

[5] Supra. See note 1.

[6] 304 U.S. 64 (1938)

[7] 12 N.Y.2d 473, 484 (1963)

[8] 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27387

[9] 454 U.S. 878 (1981)

[10] Symeon C. Symeonides, Issue-by-Issue Analysis and Depecage in Choice of Law (28th September, 2018, 2:30pm)

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