General Principles of International Commercial Law - Part 6 Chapter 6 - The Practice of International Litigation - 2nd Edition
Lawrence W. Newman has been a partner in the New York office of Baker & McKenzie since 1971, when, together with the late Professor Henry deVries, he founded the litigation department in that office. He is the author/editor of 4 works on international litigation/arbitration.
Michael Burrows, Formerly, Of Counsel, Baker & McKenzie, New York.
Every country has its own body of contract law, the fundamental body of law for commercial transactions. In the negotiation of commercial agreements involving more than one nation, an issue that often arises is which country’s law should govern the interpretation of the contract. Major contracts often contain provisions that anticipate almost all disputes, leaving little room for analysis in the light of applicable outside legal principles. There are many times, however, when lawyers representing parties in multinational contract disputes wish that they did not have to concern themselves with obtaining information on, or understanding, bodies of contract law with which they are not familiar, that are in another language and, frequently, the interpretation of which is unaided by available case law or commentaries.
In recent years, there has been interest among legal scholars—and, to an increasingly great extent, among practitioners—in having available a body of contract law that is different from the law of any particular country and that partakes of the elements of generally accepted principles of contract law. A model code of such a body of law was published by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), under the title Principles of International Commercial Contracts (UNIDROIT Principles).
The UNIDROIT Principles are not only interesting from a theoretical point of view, they may be of considerable practical importance. The Principles take the form of a codified statement of the law of contracts for pplication in the international context and draw upon contract law from both common-law and civil-law jurisdictions.