The UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts turn 30: Celebration conference held at UNIDROIT

On 6-7 May 2024, UNIDROIT hosted an international conference to mark the 30th anniversary of one of its most well-known instruments: the UNIDROIT Principles on International Commercial Contracts (UPICC). Governing Council members and other experts, many of whom participated firsthand in the drafting of the Principles themselves, gathered in Rome for this two-day event, opened by UNIDROIT President Professor Maria Chiara Malaguti, Secretary-General Professor Ignacio Tirado. Deputy Secretary General Professor Anna Veneziano introduced the keynote speech delivered by Professor Michael Joachim Bonell, who opened the first day and touched upon several points that would feed into the discussions in the following panels .

The first panel entitled “The UPICC in context: historical roots and synergies with other international instruments” was chaired by Professor Don Wallace and featured contributions by Professor Pilar Perales Viscasillas (with respect to the CISG) and Stefan Vogenauer (with respect to the Tripartite Legal Guide), and benefitted from a discussion led by  Professor Fabio Bortolotti, who touched on the issues addressed in the ICC Model Clauses.

A round table followed on the use of the UPICC in contract drafting, chaired by Professor Giuditta Cordero-Moss, featuring renowned practitioners and private sector representatives such as arbitrator Mr Christopher Seppälä, Prof, Eckart Brödermann, and in house counsels of the Danieli Group and the EniPlenitude group respectively, Mr Michele Ius and Mr Pietro Galizzi.

The first day concluded with a panel addressing the Practical perspectives on the role of the UPICC in arbitration chaired by President Malaguti, featuring the contributions of Professor Lauro Gama Jr, Professor Christina Ramberg, and Mr Dominic Spenser Underhill.

Day 2 of the Conference opened by addressing the use of the UPICC to develop new uniform law instruments, chaired by ad honorem Governing Council member Professor Henry Gabriel, and featuring Professor Helmut Heiss on the Principles of Reinsurance Contract Law (PRICL),  Professor José Antonio Moreno Rodríguez on the UPICC and Investment Contracts, and Professor Ekaterina Pannebakker on Using the UPICC to Draft Sustainable Development Clauses in International Commercial Contracts

What followed was a panel which reflected on the impact of the UPICC  on,  and interaction with, domestic law and regional integration chaired by Dr Philine Wehling, featuring Professor Wenhua JI on the influence of the UPICC on the Chinese Civil Code, Professor Eesa Fredericks on South African Law, and Professor Nisreen Mahasneh on Islamic Law, as well as the instrument’s interaction with regional and national ESG supply chain regulations by Professor Ulrich Schroeter.

The UPICC as applicable law or background law and applications by national courts was a topic addressed by a panel chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General, providing an overview on the use of the UPICC in domestic courts by Professor Alejandro Garro, a focus on the choice of the Principles as the proper law of international commercial contracts in Latin America by Professor Maria Ignacia Vial Undurraga, as well as a focus on the UPICC and English Courts offered by Mr Rupert Reece.

All panels were enriched by lively discussions with participants. The conclusions of the conference on ways of shaping the future of the Principles were drawn in a final panel chaired by Secretary-General who initiated a debate with the chairs of all seven panels of the conference and the audience on ideas and impulses for ways forward. Former doyen of the Governing Council Professor Arthur Hartkamp then provided the concluding remarks.


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