International Contract Law (LAWS6958)


There are fundamental principles of contract law governing international commerce. These principles constitute international contract law - an autonomous body of the law governing obligations, rather than national contract law on an international scale. This unit examines the resurgence of the concept of a new lex mercatoria as it is used in international commerce. Using the Unidroit Principles of International Commercial Contracts, now in its third edition, as a fundamental statement of the principles of international contract law, we examine the structures and principles of international contract law as they apply in international contract practice and how they differ from national contract laws. Other statements of general contract or sales principles are considered and compared with the Unidroit Principles. These statements include the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the European Principles of Contract Law (PECL), the EC Draft Common Frame of Reference (DCFR), the US Restatement of Law (Second) Contracts, the US Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and the Trans-Lex Principles of Transnational Law. Unity and harmony of transnational contract law proceeds within an institutional framework. That institutional framework includes the rules of private international law. We also examine the legal institutions relevant to sources of private international law as applied to international commercial contracts. We consider the recognition internationally of a principle of party autonomy and the boundaries to the ability of parties to choose private systems of law to govern contractual relationships.

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Further unit of study information


Feb 12, 13 & Mar 11, 12 (9-5)


class participation including short issues paper, preparedness to discuss issues and class attendance (30%) and 6000wd essay (70%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

undergraduate law degree

Additional Information

This unit replaced LAWS6958 Comparative Commercial Contracts.

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If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.