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The law governing international commercial contracts and the actual role of the Unidroit Principles
Uniform Law Review  (IF),  Pub Date : 2018-03-01, DOI: 10.1093/ulr/uny001
Michael Joachim Bonell

The traditional and still prevailing approach to “nationalize” cross-border transactions and to subject them to the law of a particular country as if they were purely domestic contracts, may be criticized for a number of reasons. The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts – the most important soft law instrument in the field of general contract law, first published in 1994 and now in their fourth edition (2016) – could constitute a valid alternative to the traditional State-law centred conflictof-laws approach. Yet why is it that, despite the widely acknowledged intrinsic merits of the UNIDROIT Principles, their relevance in practice is still rather limited? The Author, after pointing out that the main reason for the continuing dominance of national laws is the inherent conservatism, coupled with a good deal of provincialism, of the legal profession, shows that nonetheless there exist significant “market niches” that the UNIDROIT Principles may, and actually do, fill with considerable success.