LAWCOMM 731 - Special Topic: Global Commercial Contract Law

Lecturer biography

Stefan Vogenauer is Director at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt. From 2003-2015 he held the Chair of Comparative Law at the University of Oxford, where he also was the Director of the Institute of European and Comparative Law. Apart from transnational commercial law, his main research interests are in European legal history, comparative law and legal method. He has taught and lectured extensively in Australia, Europe, the United States and South Africa. His publications include the Commentary on the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (2nd ed 2015) and the Ius Commune Casebook for the Common Law of Europe: Cases, Materials and Text on Contract Law (2nd ed 2010).

He was recently appointed to serve on the joint panel of experts preparing a Legal Guide to International Commercial Contracts under the auspices of the leading ‘formulating agencies’ in the field, UNCITRAL, UNIDROIT and the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Course outline

This course provides an introduction to the global law relating to international commercial contracts. This is an emerging area of law that responds to the spectacular rise in global trade that has occurred over the past 50 years. It aims to replace the traditional system of national contract laws, co-ordinated by national conflict of laws rules and administered by national courts. A major focus will be on contracts of sales, as codified by the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). However, some issues of the general law of contract will also be covered in detail (e.g. formation, interpretation, third party rights, the duty of good faith and fair dealing). The treatment of some of these topics will be based on an examination of the 2010 UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC). The approach is comparative. Examples will be drawn from the decisions of national courts as well as arbitral awards.


Aspects of global commercial contract law covered in this course include:

  • The traditional interplay of national contract laws and the idea of a global commercial contract law
  • Applicability and application of the CISG and the PICC
  • Interpretation and supplementation of the CISG and the PICC
  • Contract formation
  • Interpretation of international commercial contracts
  • Third party rights
  • Obligations of sellers and buyers
  • Contractual remedies
  • Good faith and fair dealing
  • Transnational commercial dispute resolution

Learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • be aware of the nature of transnational commercial law;
  • be aware of the specific legal problems that arise from international commercial transactions;
  • be familiar with the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG);
  • be familiar with the 2010 UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC);
  • understand the basics of transnational commercial dispute resolution.


  • 90% research essay (12,500 words due by 12pm Thursday 24th May 2018)
  • 10% Presentation and class contribution


Essays should not be confined to a mere description of the law. They ought to critically engage with the relevant legal issues and, if necessary, develop proposals for reform. Each essay must represent the work by the student who submits it. Students are expressly reminded to familiarize themselves with the University plagiarism policy which will be as strictly enforced as the word limit.

Class contribution and presentation

Students are expected to contribute to classroom discussion throughout the entire five days of the course. They will be asked to participate in a ten-minute group presentation and contribute to mini-moot exercise. All these elements will be individually assessed as to their quality.

Criteria and marking

Students will be individually assessed on the quality of their contributions and writing with reference to the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the student has identified the important and relevant issues
  • The depth and thoroughness of understanding of the prescribed materials
  • The strength and clarity of the arguments presented
  • The extent to which issues are placed in proper perspective
  • The extent to which the student has displayed a grasp of the theoretical and practical issues


Dates: 7-13 March 2018
Time: 9am-5pm
Venue: Auckland Law School
Building 810, Level 3
Room 3.40
1-11 Short Street
Auckland 1010
Points: 30 points
Assessment due date: by 12 noon, 24 May 2018

Contact details

Postgraduate Student Adviser
Student Centre
Faculty of Law
Level 2, 1-11 Short Steet