Tanya Monestier, ‘When Forum Selection Clauses Meet Choice of Law Clauses’

ABSTRACT
Many contracts that contain a forum selection clause also contain a choice of law clause. This raises the issue of whether to apply the parties’ chosen law to questions of forum selection clause interpretation, such as whether the clause is mandatory or permissive and how far the scope of the clause extends. The recent trend has been for courts to apply the law selected by the parties in their choice of law clause to govern these interpretation issues. This Article argues that the law has gone in the wrong direction and that courts should apply forum law to questions of forum selection clause interpretation.

This Article challenges each of the stated rationales in favor of applying the parties’ chosen law to interpret a forum selection clause: the party autonomy argument; the intention of the parties argument; the certainty and predictability argument; the substance versus procedure argument; the ‘part of the contract’ argument; and the forum shopping argument. None of the purported arguments in favor of applying the parties’ chosen law stand up to closer scrutiny …

Monestier, Tanya J, When Forum Selection Clauses Meet Choice of Law Clauses (2019). American University Law Review, volume 69, no 2, 2019; Roger Williams University Legal Studies Paper No 197.

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