UNIDROIT principles can help clinch that contract

  • 19 July 2002

Trading partners wrestling with conflicting national laws as they negotiate contracts increasingly turn to an international standard as their preferred solution.

Lawyers searching for a way to reconcile differing views among potential business partners about their contractual obligations find that the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts can provide the answer.

The principles have become equally useful in arbitration cases. How they are applied in international commercial arbitration is the subject of a new International Chamber of Commerce publication based on an ICC seminar in Paris in 2001.

UNIDROIT itself is an independent intergovernmental organization founded in 1926 under the then League of Nations and dedicated to the harmonization of private law between states. It has drawn up an array of international conventions governing such commercial activities as financial leasing and factoring.

The popularity of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts reflects the success of public and private business law specialists in producing a comprehensive body of rules relating to the formation, validity, interpretation, contents and performance of contracts.

Robert Briner, Chairman of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, said: “Rules that transcend cultural and legal differences and establish an international standard that is acceptable to different nationalities and traditions have an obvious appeal.”

UNIDROIT principles have a growing role in arbitration conducted under the ICC rules of arbitration. ICC arbitration lawyers say they have proved invaluable in providing a neutral basis for deciding the parties’ claims. For example, they may be applied in arbitration cases to supplement or interpret national laws.