Contractual Freedom and Autonomy under the CISG and UNIDROIT Principles as Legislative and Judicial Guidance in Commonwealth Arica

Author: Theophilus Edwin Coleman

ISSN: 1996-2185
Affiliations: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Johannesburg
Source: South African Mercantile Law Journal, Volume 33 Issue 3, 2021, p. 319 – 363


The idea that contracting parties should be afforded the freedom to determine the content of their contract and regulate their private legal arrangements not only advances efficient international trade and commerce, but also, to a very large extent, affords the parties the opportunity to mitigate their risks in their transnational commercial relations. Parties’ risks are mitigated when the basis upon which they can conclude and enforce their contract is not concealed by uncertainty. Within the global legal order on transnational commercial and contract law, parties enter into contracts with the expectation that the contracts will be enforced by the courts of law. This article seeks to critically appraise the global stance on contractual freedom and party autonomy. It ascertains the extent to which the global approach could serve as legislative and judicial guidance for Commonwealth African countries. The article suggests that Commonwealth African countries should accede to or ratify key instruments on international commercial and contract law. It further highlights the economic significance of such accession for businesspeople in Commonwealth Africa.