How comprehensive and effective

How comprehensive and effective is the legal regime for international sales today Is there any further need for harmonisation in this area of law.

International conventions are not codes, hence they do not cover a complete area of law and any unification that takes place can best be done on the basis of harmonization. During the first half of the twentieth century, legal systems were nationalized and private international law mainly sought to achieve the localization of issues and disputes, while conflict of laws also served this purpose. But during the later half of the 20th century, more instruments have emerged that have harmonized commercial law systems, and it appears that a new conflict of laws system may be needed. Earlier legal systems focused upon maintaining national identity, but this is yielding to a tendency to adopt internationally recognized standards or harmonized law.

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International trade law became distinguished from domestic law in that it applied to international export transactions, whether of goods or services. While domestic transactions fall within the province of national law, international trade is instead focused upon moving away from the fetters of national law in order to develop a common, international consensus.

The modern perception of the law of international trade has been defined by Schmitthoff, who stated: “It is a remarkable fact – as remarkable as the world-wide acceptance of the rule of law and the universal acceptance of corporateness – that the law of international trade shows a striking similarity in all national legal systems.”2 While similarity in legal systems may not necessarily equate to uniformity, the use of a functional comparative approach leads to convergence in legal systems which is akin to uniformity. On this basis, applying Schmutthioff’s views, that conflict of laws is the factor that leads to the applicability of international trade law rules3.

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