International Commercial Agreements

Although there are some exceptions and restrictions, the vast majority of States allow partisan autonomy allowing parties to choose both the forum and the legislation in force for their treaties. If the parties do not choose an applicable law, a court that accepts jurisdiction of the dispute must apply the conflict-of-laws rules of private international law to determine which law is applicable to the treaty, including any international instruments that might apply by default (see section 3.1). The rules of private international law are notoriously complex and this guide will focus on scenarios in which the parties have chosen the applicable law or where an international instrument is applied by default. It may seem intuitive to some observers what an international trade treaty is, but it is difficult to find an accepted definition of the term.