Using an international trade lawyer


International trade lawyers work to solve problems between companies trading across state borders. An international trade lawyer has a difficult legal position as they must know the domestic law, usually in more than one jurisdiction, as well as the public international law that applies.

Some multinational treaties play important roles in this type of law and the methods of solving disputes and enforcing decisions can be complex.

What are trade laws?

Trade laws come within the remit of private international law. This means that sometimes there must be a hearing to determine which jurisdiction applies to the issues in the case and a hearing to determine the jurisdiction in which that case should be heard.

The application of international trade law is largely controlled by:

  • The World Trade Organisation
  • The United Nations Commission on Trade and Development

The United Nations Commission on International Trade was founded in response to the General Assembly, recognising that disparities in national law governing international trade created problems in the flow of trade internationally.

The Commission was established to attempt to solve some of these problems by unifying the law on international trade. The Commission has successfully resolved issues by creating agreements, most notably the International Sale of Goods (CISG) and Related Transactions.

International trade lawyers

International trade lawyers often have a subspecialty, such as:

  • Shipping
  • Finance
  • Energy

Such a specialisation is necessary for international law because the law itself is not governed by any particular legal framework. International trade law for each commercial matter depends on the legal jurisdiction affecting each party, as well as the location of the agreement.

Many international agreements have a specific clause which stipulates which jurisdiction applies to the contract. Although each individual contract varies to a degree, there are industry standards which apply to the vast majority of industry specific contracts.

International trade lawyers are therefore likely to specialise in specific industries and, by doing so, offer their clients comprehensive advice and a deep understanding of one of the most complicated aspects of law.

Drafting contracts

The most important role that an international trade lawyer can have is the proper drafting of the contract for international trade between the parties. This document should be drafted to give it legal effect and clearly stipulate the jurisdiction in which any disagreement should be heard and the legal jurisdiction that applies to the content of any contract.

If the international trade lawyer is able to draft the contract properly it should negate the need for complex, expensive international trade disputes at a later date. For further information on international agreements, see our page on trade agreements.

Do you need an international trade lawyer to represent you for a case involving a trade dispute? Contact Law works with a number of specialist international trade lawyers who are recommended by our previous clients. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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