Edited by Mads Andenas and Camilla Baasch Andersen
Chapter 29: Towards a Theory of Harmonisation
29. Towards a theory of harmonisation Mads Andenas,* Camilla Baasch Andersen** and Ross Ashcroft† I. Introduction – the many faces of harmonisation The concept of harmonisation of legal phenomena1 can be traced back to early legal history, as far back as Roman law or early colonial law.2 However, in modern times, we must distinguish modern (and arguably voluntary) harmonisation from that of the imposed laws of military and colonial conquests. Modern harmonisation, however we define it, is an important feature of the modern legal system, which does not exist in a vacuum in today’s globalised markets and economy. Formally, UNIDROIT laid the foundations for legal harmonisation projects as long ago as the 1920s. Although the projects which it aimed at establishing subsequently failed due to lack of international support,3 other significant projects in the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission for International Trade Law) and other UN regimes have successfully built on many of the UNIDROIT concepts. Informally, the various trade practices have developed rules for trade * MA, DPhil(Oxford), PhD(Cambridge); Professor, University of Oslo, Norway. Former Director, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London and Centre of European Law, King’s College, University of London. Senior Research Fellow, IALS, University of London, UK. Research was undertaken with support from the Norwegian Finance Market Fund. ** Cand.Jur. (Copenhagen), PhD (Aarhus School of Business). Fellow, Institute of International Commercial Law, Pace University Law School, New York, USA and Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Leicester, UK. † BA/LLB (Hons) GDLP LLM (Griffith), MCL (Adelaide/Mannheim)...
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