Chicago Journal of International Law


The literature advocating lex mercatoria has periodically been enhanced by attempts to provide evidence of its existence and, at the same time, to make it more accessible by formulating-or codifying-its rules. One such attempt was a series of proposals to use international law as a tool for imposing uniform special rules for international trade. Others have been the formulation of non- binding general principles of international commercial contract law by UNIDROIT, the Cornell Common Core project, the Lando Commission Principles of European Contract Law, the various ICC formulations and, finally, general lists of principles formulated by prominent scholars in the area of lex mercatoria such as Berthold Goldman, Lord Mustill, and most recently Klaus Peter Berger. I should like to take this opportunity of discussing the relationship of lex mercatoria with both national and international law to reexamine the question of its autonomy in the light of this move towards codification. I shall suggest that these relationships and the inevitable process of institutionalisation through codification undermine all claims to an autonomous lex mercatoria and produce the antithesis of what is offered as its model. [CONT]