Revisiting the Autonomous Contract - Transnational contract law, trends and supportive structures
Ralph Amissah *

8. Marketing of transnational solutions

Certain aspects of the Net/web may already be passé, but did you recognise it for what it was, or might become, when it arrived?

As uniform law and transnational solutions are in competition with municipal approaches, to be successful a certain amount of marketing is necessary and may be effective. The approach should involve ensuring the concept of what they seek to achieve is firmly implanted in the business, legal and academic communities, and through engaging the business community and arbitration institutions, in capacity building and developing a new generation of lawyers. Feedback from the business community, and arbitrators will also prove invaluable. Whilst it is likely that the business community will immediately be able to recognise their potential advantages, it is less certain that they will find the support of the legal community. The normal reasons would be similar to those usually cited as being the primary constraints on its development “conservatism, routine, prejudice and inertia” René David. These are problems associated with gaining the initial foothold of acceptability, also associated with the lower part of an exponential growth curve. In addition the legal community may face tensions arising for various reasons including the possibility of an increase in world-wide competition.

There are old well developed legal traditions with developed infrastructures and roots well established in several countries, that are dependable and known. The question arises why experiment with alternative non-extensively tested regimes? The required sophistication is developed in the centres providing legal services, and it may be argued that there is not the pressing need for unification or for transnational solutions, as the traditional way of contracting provides satisfactorily for the requirements of global commerce. The services required will continue to be easily and readily available from existing centres of skill. English law, to take an example is for various reasons (including perhaps language, familiarity of use, reputation and widespread Commonwealth 67 relations) the premier choice for the law governing international commercial transactions, and is likely to be for the foreseeable future. Utilising the Commonwealth as an example, what the “transnational” law (e.g. CISG) experience illustrates however, is that for States there may be greater advantage to be gained from participation in a horizontally shared area of commercial law, than from retaining a traditional vertically integrated commercial law system, based largely for example on the English legal system.

Borrowing a term from the information technology sector, it is essential to guard against FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) with regard to the viability of new and/or competing transnational solutions, that may be spread by their detractors, and promptly, in the manner required by the free market, address any real problems that are discerned.

 67. http://www.thecommonwealth.org/

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