The concepts like “globalization” and “Europeanization” have shifting meanings but it their impact on contract law is indisputable. The globalization of contracts implies contracting practices that make national boundaries irrelevant. Thus, globalized contract law may be designated as a stand-alone system which operates autonomously from the national legal systems.
The globalization of economy entails the globalization of contract law. Given the fact that the stability and welfare of modern western societies is based on economic growth, there is a public interest in fostering the development of economy by providing efficient solutions. The globalization of economic markets generates a relatively uniform contract law. As modern business activities take place between companies rather than within companies, their legal relations cannot be regulated by the corporate management; instead, they have to be contracted. In such a case, the uniform contract rules remove international trade barriers.
However, there is the other side of the coin. The foundations of modern private law have been shaken by devious shock waves of capital merging and privatization. The prevailing body of rules is not necessarily the best or the most adequate one but, quite frequently, the one that has been widely accepted by diverse international community. In some cases, international standards simply provide legitimate framework and formal support to the informal practices of dominant multinational companies. Globalization strengthens the big and powerful while weakening the overall position of others. So, to what extent is global contract law “Americanized”? Shaped by EU Directives, European contract law is a globalization paradigm; but, is there any “hidden agenda”? The vital de facto barriers are disregarded considering that consumers encounter more serious problems than the diverging contract law practices.
A significant characteristic of contemporary contract law is an increasing trend toward global harmonization. The successful 1980 UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods has become a “prototype” for recent contract law reforms, embodied in the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, Principles of European Contract Law, and the European Draft Common Frame of Reference. Traditionally, lex mercatoria plays an important role as an evolving body of norms in global economy. Thus, these projects are an excellent test case for identifying the conditions which would ensure more productive effects of the globalization of contract law, but they also reveal the major roadblocks to that goal.
Ever since the emergence of the national state, the law-making process has primarily been a task for the national legislatures and courts. These laws are intended for relatively homogeneous societies, characterized by a common language and culture. However, this traditional conception is now rapidly changing. Contracts have always been a kind of private law-making. Thus, there emerges global contract law, which is independent from any global law giver but still dependent on already established national legal and judicial institutions