An international contract calls for the identification of the law that would govern the transaction in the event of a dispute on the matter between the parties. Indian private international law adopts the doctrine of ‘the proper law of contract’ to identify the legal system that will regulate an international contract. In the absence of any codification, the interpretation of the doctrine has been left to the courts. The judiciary adopts the common law tripartite hierarchy, viz, the ‘express choice’, ‘implied choice’ and ‘the closest and most real connection’ test to determine the proper law. However, the existing case law demonstrates the diverse interpretations given to each of these factors in India in the post-colonial era. The paper examines the manner in which the blind adoption of the decisions of the English courts has considerably hindered the development of Indian private international law. In this regard, the author suggests some plausible solutions to render India more amenable to international trade and commerce – such as the adoption of mechanisms similar to those formulated by its continental counterpart.
Saloni Khanderia, Practice does not make perfect: Rethinking the doctrine of ‘the proper law of the contract’ – A case for the Indian courts, Journal of Private International Law, 16:3, 423-450 (2020). DOI: 10.1080/17441048.2020.1823068. Published online: 12 January 2021.