Tag Archive for: choice-of-law clauses

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Great Lakes

On February 21, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Raiders Retreat Realty Company, LLC.

The question presented was whether, under federal admiralty law, a choice-of-law clause in a maritime contract can be rendered unenforceable if enforcement is contrary to the “strong public policy” of the U.S. state whose law is displaced. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Kavanaugh, the Court concluded that the answer to this question was no. It held that choice-of-law provisions in maritime contracts are presumptively enforceable as a matter of federal maritime law. It further held that while there are narrow exceptions to this rule, state public policy is not one of them.

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German Federal Court of Justice rules on what constitutes a genuine international element within the meaning of Art. 3(3) of the Rome I-Regulation (BGH, judgment of 29 November 2023, No. VIII ZR 7/23)

by Patrick Ostendorf (HTW Berlin)

The principle of party autonomy gives the parties to a contract the opportunity to determine the applicable substantive (contract) law themselves by means of a choice-of-law clause – and thus to avoid (simple) mandatory rules that would otherwise bite. According to EU Private International law, however, the choice of the applicable contract law requires a genuine international element: in purely domestic situations, i.e. where “all other elements relevant to the situation at the time of the choice are located in a single country, all the mandatory rules of this country remain applicable even if the parties have chosen a foreign law (Art. 3 (3) Rome I Regulation).

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Choice of law in commercial contracts and regulatory competition: new steps to be made by the EU?

The recently published study titled ‘European Commercial Contract Law’, authored by Andrea Bertolini, addresses the theme of regulatory competition. It offers new policy recommendations to improve EU legal systems’ chances of being chosen as the law governing commercial contracts.


The Study’s main question

The European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs has published a new study authored by Andrea Bertolini, titled ‘European Commercial Contract Law’ (the ‘Study’). The Study formulates the main question as follows: ‘why the law chosen in commercial contracts is largely non-European and non-member state law’. The expression ‘non-European and non-member state’ law is specified as denoting the legal systems of England and Wales, the United States, and Singapore, and more generally, common law legal systems. The Study states:

It is easily observed how most often international contracts are governed by non-European law. The reasons why this occurs are up to debate and could be quite varied both in nature and relevance. Indeed, a recent study by Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) found that 43 per cent of commercial practitioners and in-house counsel preferred English law as the governing law of the contracts. Read more