International contract law is a branch of private international law, which relates to the cross-border dealings of individuals or companies. This differs from public international law, which concerns the interaction between governments and other state agencies.
An international contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties that creates a legal obligation between them. These rules related to contracts can vary substantially between different types of legal systems. In common law jurisdictions, for example, the participants in a contract are typically allowed a very wide scope concerning the terms of the agreement and the repercussions of breaking the pact. In civil law jurisdictions, however, established legal principles are often applied to individual contracts.
The most basic element of any contract is the mutual agreement between two parties to participate in an arrangement. Common law jurisdictions typically require consideration in a contract, meaning that both sides receive something of value as part of the contract. In civil law countries, however, consideration is not considered a necessary component.
Historically, merchants developed their own sort of international contract law. Traders wanting to deal despite differences in language, culture and laws developed their own code for international dealings. These rules have evolved into the good faith contract laws of today.
The volatility of market conditions has raised the importance of high quality international contracting. It is critical to expand the trading base and to spread risks. On the other hand, it is also critical to be able to withdraw from markets and to maintain flexibility. International trade has many nuances, requiring appreciation of differing ethical standards, business practices and norms. Many companies have misjudged their trading partners or a country’s economic stability and taken huge losses as a result.
A further influence will be regulation and the development of rules and practices that are outside of today’s legal systems. For many of us, the growth of international trade has driven an increased need for contracts and commercial expertise. Crossing cultural, linguistic, legal and ethical boundaries has obliged us to undertake careful assessment and management of risks. Yet this too is changing – not least because such uncertainties place heavy costs on business transactions.
Those in the world of contracting will not be immune from this content driven world. Roadblocks will not be tolerated, and for many, traditional contracting process and practice will be seen as either a roadblock, or as something increasingly irrelevant to modern commerce.
We specialize in US International contract law and International law /treaties and conventions such as:
UN Convention on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG)
The Arms Export Control Act (AECA)
Federal Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
The Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
North America Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA)
The Foreign Assistance Act (FAA)
Foreign Laws and Customs
International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR)