Among the many ambitious projects in the area of law reform, in particular international harmonisation of private and commercial law, one appears to be even more ambitious than others. On the face of it, the project’s addressee are the courts and not the arbitration community. However, not only are international commercial arbitration and international commercial litigation manifold intertwined, but the two project-sponsoring organisations have a natural interest in entering into a mutually fruitful exchange with practitioners who are constantly in touch with, albeit privately organised, transnational dispute resolution procedures.
The American Law Institute (ALI), a private organisation comprising the bar, the bench, in-house counsel as well as the academic community, is one of the most prestigious sources of ideas for, and one of the most influential promoters of law reform in the United States. Its most widely used products are the Restatements (of Contract, Tort, Conflict of Laws etc.). In the first half of the 1990s, the ALI concluded that efforts to harmonise law in an era of global trade were strangely limited to substantive law, and that hardly any serious inquiry had been conducted into the peculiarities of the transnational civil procedure. As a matter of fact, the intergovernmental organisations seem to have exercised unusual self-restraint in this area except for, on the one hand, the conventions on jurisdiction and recognition of foreign judgments and, on the other hand, the Hague Conventions on Service and on Taking of Evidence Abroad.