contract. English law was far ahead of the second most frequent choice—the law of New York—at 17 per cent.27 This may be partly due to the character of English contract law, although it also reflects the concentration of specialised expertise and infrastructure for commercial dispute resolution available in London.4.15 While Australian contract law remains in many ways similar to English law, particularly in its common law fundamentals, other elements of Australian law now resemble US law. Equitable doctrines such as promissory estoppel—which are established in Australia and the US—have not been developed to the same extent inEngland. And in England, unlike Australia, there is no general statutory prohibition on misleading or deceptive conduct. This may explain why English law is attractive to high-end commercial users. However, it may be capable of producing harsh results in other domestic commercial settings.Question 4To what extent do businesses experience significant costs, inefficiencies, difficulties or lost opportunities as a result of the differences between Australian and foreign contract law?14
1.8INTERNATIONAL APPROACHESResponding to difficulties arising from different national systems of contract law, international projects have focussed on distilling internationally applicable contract law principles into binding and non-binding instruments. Prominent international organisations have been active in developing instruments relating to the internationalsale of goods and international commercial contracts. Projects within the European Union (EU) also illustrate new approaches to responding to problems faced by partiescontracting across borders. These projects are significant to Australia because they hold the potential to reduce the costs and risks associated with international contracting.United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods5.2 The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods28(‘Vienna Convention’) provides uniform principles applicable to international sale of goods transactions. The Vienna Convention rules apply wherever a international contract for the sale of goods is concluded in the jurisdiction of a State Party to the Convention, or with a contractual party in that territory. The Convention also applies to contracts (even if they are not within this category) where the parties elect to be governed by its terms. However, the Convention does not apply to certain contracts, for example, contracts governing sales of goods to consumers or to contracts for services.5.3 In Australia, State and Territory legislation implements the provisions of the Vienna Convention.29Under this legislation, the Convention applies to international sales contracts unless the parties agree to exclude its application.305.4 The UNILEX database (an unofficial collection of case law) indicates that, as at February 2012, there have only been 12 cases which have considered the application of the Vienna Convention to contractual disputes before Australian courts. The
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