Making Commercial Law: Essays in Honour of Roy Goode

By Royston Miles Goode; Ross Cranston | Go to book overview

3
The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts and the Principles of European Contract Law: a Comparison

MICHAEL JOACHIM BONELL


A. Introduction

The year 1994 marked a turning point for two remarkable projects in the field of contract law. It was in that year that the Governing Council of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) gave its imprimatur to the publication of the Principles of International Commercial Contracts ('UNIDROIT Principles'),1 and the Commission on European Contract Law concluded its work on the first part of the Principles of European Contract Law ('European Principles').2

Each of these sets of Principles has already been the subject of a substantial body of legal writings dealing with them either in general or with respect to specific topics they cover.3 The purpose of this essay is to undertake a combined analysis of the two instruments with a view to comparing their content, scope, and intended uses.4 After a brief description of the origins and preparation (Part B) and the formal presentation (Part C) of the UNIDROIT Principles and the European Principles, Part D is devoted to an identification of the similarities and divergencies between the two, with an attempt to distinguish divergencies of policy from those of a merely technical nature. Finally Part E addresses the basic question as to the relationship between the UNIDROIT Principles and the European

____________________
1
Cf. International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, Principles of International Commercial Contracts ( Rome, 1994). For the text in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish, see M. J. Bonell, An International Restatement of Contract Law. The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts ( New York: Irvington, 1994), p. 157et seq.
2
Cf. O. Lando and H. Beale (eds), The Principles of European Contract Law, Part I "Performance, Non-performance and Remedies" ( Dordrecht, 1995).
3
For an up-to-date bibliography on the two instruments see M. J. Bonell, Un 'codice' internazionale del diritto dei contratti ( Milano, 1995), pp. 410-17.
4
For a first comparison of this kind, limited only however to Part I of the European Principles, see A. S. Hartkamp, "The UNIDROIT Principles for International Commercial Contracts and the Principles of European Contract Law" ( 1994) 2 European Review of Private Law341-57; R. Zimmermann, "Konturen eines Europäischen Vertragsrechts" ( 1995) Juristenzeitung, 477-90.

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