Netherlands indies occupies a position somewhat unique in the sphere of colonial administration, or at least did so until its conquest by the Japanese. For one thing, it is not a dependency of the ‘mother country’ for it forms a component part, along with the Netherlands, Curacao and Surinam, of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As such its nationals are Dutch subjects and stand on an equal footing, legally, with the citizens of other sovereign nations. In the event of legal controversy involving a resident of the Netherlands Indies and a citizen of another nation, the principles of private international law, better known in this country as conflict of laws, come into play to determine what body of legal rules, which of the two legal systems shall be applied in the particular case. The position of the Indies with respect to Holland—or Curacao or Surinam—introduces another, somewhat different, aspect of conflict of laws. For interregional law, as it has been termed, does not involve diverse sovereignties but concerns controversies that arise between subjects of the same state, controversies that flow from the fact that Indies private law is not identical to that of the Netherlands.

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