A2: Essential Elements of Legal Systems | International Trade, International Legal Regulation and Conflict of Laws (ACCA LW)

International Trade, International Legal Regulation and Conflict of Laws looks at international regulation, the function of international treaties, conventions and model codes as well as the role of international organizations and courts in international trade.

International Trade, International Legal Regulation and Conflict of Laws

a. Explain the need for international legal regulation in the context of conflict of laws

International legal regulation is required because of the intricacies of international commerce and the interactions between individuals and corporations.

Barriers to free trade is one type of regulation that is used to protect against competition. Examples include:

  • tariffs/ customs duties – taxes on imported goods
  • import quotas – restrict quantities of imports
  • embargoes – bans on imports from specific countries
  • export subsidies – assistance for local goods
  • import restrictions – red tape and extensive regulations
  • differences in law – varying legal consequences

b. Explain the function of international treaties, conventions and model codes

Conflict of laws is where “parties from different nations have a legal dispute and it is necessary to determine which national law governs the validity of the legal situation.”

 Public international law governs relations between states and international organisations. Private international law regulates cases where there is a conflict of laws. 

International treaties, conventions and model codes are agreements that are used to provide solutions to issues such as the conflict of laws.

UN Conventions are “agreements which are binding under international law on states and other entities.” Examples of UN Conventions are:

  • The Rome Convention – determines what law should govern the validity of international contracts
  • The New York Convention 1958 – sets out the agreement of countries referring cases to arbitration
 Model laws were developed by the United Nations for countries to adopt into their own laws. 

c. Explain the roles of international organisations, such as the UN, the ICC, the WTO, the OECD, UNIDROIT, UNCITRAL and courts in the promotion and regulation of international trade

United Nations (UN)

  • Started in 1945
  • governs over 500 UN conventions
  • Maintains peace and security
  • develops friendly relations among nations
  • cooperates in solving economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems
  • promotes respect for human rights and international freedoms
  • Drafts international law under two bodies:
    • The International Law Commission
    • The UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) – core legal body within the UN
 UN conventions are agreements that are binding under international law on states and other entities. 

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

  • Promotes “trade and investment, open markets for goods and the free flow of capital”
  • Makes representations to government on issues related to international trade
  • Develops code of practice to encourage minimum government intervention in businesses
  • Works with and advises UN
  • Combats commercial crime
  • Set up the International Court of Arbitration in 1923

World Trade Organisation (WTO)

  • Formed in 1995 as successor to GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade)
  • Promotes the free flow of trade
  • Administers trade agreements
  • Settles trade disputes
  • Reviews national trade policies
  • Helps developing countries with trade policy issues
  • the Dispute Settlement Body resolves trade quarrels between member countries
  • Structure consists of a Secretariat, a Ministerial Conference, a General Council, Special Councils, Committees and the Dispute Settlement Body

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

  • Developed in 1961 to administer American and Canadian aid to Europe after WWII
  • Is a forum to “discuss, develop and refine economic and social policies”
  • Creates legally binding and non-binding agreements

International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)

  • Studies how to modernize, harmonise and coordinate private international law
  • Membership is restricted to 63 states
  • The structure consists of a Secretariat, a Governing Council and a General Assembly
  • Uses conventions, model laws, general principles and legal guides

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