Laurette Barnard, 1996
This article presents a detailed analysis of the way in which New Zealand courts determine the objective proper law of a contract in the absence of a choice by the parties. With reference to case law, the author argues that the current practice of determining such proper law on the basis of the “closest and most real connection” test does not translate into certainty and predictability and does not serve the goals of commercial convenience and business efficacy. The author proposes the development of a set of coherent presumptions, or rules subject to flexible exceptions, for each kind of contract.
Richard J Howarth, 2004
This article explores choice of law in international commercial contracts with reference to the Lex Mercatoria within the context of unification of international commercial law. The author presents a detailed survey of the origins of the Lex Mercatoria, contemporary arguments supporting its existence, recognition of the Lex Mercatoria in a number of international legal instruments and its modern applications. The uneasy relationship between the Lex Mercatoria and courts in civil code and common law jurisdictions, including New Zealand, is also examined.
"Renvoi: Throwing (and Catching) the Boomerang – Neilson v Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria Ltd"
Elsabe Schoeman, 2006
The author examines the decision in Neilson v Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria Ltd  HCA 54 with specific reference to the application of renvoi in transnational tort litigation and the application of a (foreign) flexible exception to the lex loci delicti. In regard to both of these matters, the case presented unique problems as a result of inadequate proof of the foreign (Chinese) law concerned. The author submits that renvoi and (foreign) exceptions are not appropriate ways of dealing with a rigid forum choice of law rule for tort.
"The Formation of Interstate and International Contracts. A Note on the 1980 UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods"
Nicky Richardson, 1989
This short note discusses the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (also known as the Vienna Sales Convention). Particular emphasis is placed on Part II of the Convention that deals with formation of sales contracts. After discussing particular articles of interest, the author concludes that the Convention will go a long way in enhancing legal certainty for international sales contracts. The only cause for regret is that it only applies to certain sales contracts and not to contracts generally.
"Exclusive Jurisdiction Clauses – A New Zealand Perspective on the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements"
G Shapira and R Lazarovitch, 2008
Exclusive jurisdiction clauses are a frequently used tool in transnational contracts. The parties agree on a forum that would hear any potential dispute. This should ensure certainty and predictability for all parties. However, the complexity of the New Zealand rules and the jurisdictional discretion of the courts lead to often unpredictable results when exclusive jurisdiction clauses are encountered. The 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements aims to address such problems with clear rules that promote certainty in commercial dealings and validate party autonomy. Even though the Convention is not free from criticism, the authors conclude that New Zealand should nonetheless adopt it.
Anthony Gray, 2006
The author argues that the double actionability rule, which has survived in New Zealand, is no longer best suited for choice of law in tort. Instead, the lex loci delicti should be the preferred rule supplemented by a flexible exception. The author undertakes an in-depth analysis of the North American jurisprudence in this area, focusing on the value of the distinction between conduct regulation and loss distribution. He concludes that Australia and New Zealand should adopt similar choice of law rules for torts.
Elsabe Schoeman, 2010
The article examines the approach adopted in Rome II towards the substance-procedure distinction and signposts its potential significance for contemporary conflicts theory from an Anglo-Common Law perspective. The Rome II approach is regarded to be generally different from the one found under the common law. This is evident from a far broader category of matters assigned to the applicable law and a corresponding narrower category of matters governed by the lex fori. The author urges Anglo-Common Law jurisdictions to pay closer attention to Rome II and use it to re-evaluate their own positions in regard to the distinction between substance and procedure.
Elsabe Schoeman, 2011
The Rome II Regulation deals with choice of law in tort. The article examines the value of this Regulation vis-à-vis third (non-EU Anglo-Common law) countries, analysing the unique EU environment and the continuous movement towards uniformity and certainty. The author discusses the general choice of law regime laid down in Article 4 of the Regulation and applies it to two famous Anglo-Common law cases: Neilson v Overseas Projects Corporation of Victoria Ltd and Harding v Wealands, concluding that these cases would probably have been decided differently under Rome II. The article concludes that Rome II may indeed have comparative value for these third countries and that its importance should not be underestimated.
Nicky Richardson, 1992
The author provides an in-depth discussion and criticism of the Rome Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations (1980). The essence of the discussion centres on how the Convention deals with the concept of party autonomy in contractual situations. The author concludes that Article 3 supports party autonomy and clarifies certain related matters, whereas Article 7(1), which relates to mandatory rules, is an ambiguous and uncertain provision. Lastly, it is suggested that the concepts of characteristic performance and mandatory rules should be considered when reforming New Zealand choice of law in contract.
Elsabe Schoeman, 2010
The New Zealand High Court Rules in respect of service abroad without leave (r 6.27) now incorporate the “serious issue to be tried on the merits” test. This article examines the important difference between the “good arguable case” and “serious issue to be tried on the merits” tests using Lord Goff’s authoritative statements in Seaconsar Far East Ltd v Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran. The author urges the Courts to embrace Lord Goff’s clarification as an opportunity to provide certainty and accuracy in relation to the interpretation and application of the “serious issue to be tried on the merits” test.
Campbell McLachlan, 1990
This article examines the doctrine of a split proper law in international contracts critically. The essence of the doctrine is that two or more aspects of the same contract can be governed by different laws. However, the proper law of the contract is both a unifying and simplifying concept, whose central purpose is to resolve disputes by subjecting the contract to a single legal system. Hence, a split proper law runs counter to this. The author conducts an in-depth analysis of relevant case law and international conventions in this area of the law and suggests ways of constructing a contract that appears to be subject to a split proper law.