Symposium on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts

On October 18, 2013, from 9:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Brooklyn Law School’s Subotnick Center, 250 Joralemon Street Brooklyn, New York, the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law and the Brooklyn Journal of International Law will host a symposium, What Law Governs International Commercial Contracts? Divergent Doctrines and the New Hague Principles. The event should be of interest to private international lawyers and the international arbitration community. The agenda and participants of the symposium are available here.

Given the continued dramatic growth of international commerce, the Symposium will address the increasingly critical question: What law governs the contracts behind the commerce? Key issues include:

  • In much of the world, courts accept the choice of the parties to a contract as to what law will govern it – but this principle is not accepted everywhere. Even in nations where it is accepted, differences abound.
  • Should the ability of parties to select the law governing their contract be approached differently in the increasingly prevalent world of international commercial arbitration?
  • In many arbitral systems, parties may select not only the law of a sovereign state, but also “rules of law” emanating from non-state sources, such as “principles” promulgated by international organizations. Should courts show the same deference to the parties’ choice of non-state law?

The Hague Principles on Choice of Law in International Contracts, prepared by the Hague Conference on Private International Law and now nearing completion, are expected to be quite influential, both in establishing the principle of party autonomy to select the law governing commercial contracts and in developing the principle and its limits. This symposium addresses the important issues described above – from the perspectives of both current law and the “best practices” represented by the draft Hague Principles.