Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia Vol IV: Invalidity



From left: Conference convenors Professor Hiroo Sono (Hokkaido University), Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart (Oxford University/NUS Law) and Professor Stefan Vogenauer (Max Planck Society) with Professor Simon Chesterman (Dean, NUS Law) (second from left)

The EW Barker Centre for Law & Business (EWBCLB) organised a conference on the “Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia IV: Invalidity” on 15 & 16 March 2018 at NUS Law.

The conference was part of a series of six edited collections of high quality scholarly essays on contract law in Asian jurisdictions that have been submitted sequentially at 12-18 months intervals beginning with the first volume in January 2014.

• Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia I: Remedies for Breach of Contract
• Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia II: Formation and Parties
• Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia III: Contents of Contracts (including consumer protection)
• Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia IV: Invalidity
• Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia V: Ending and Changing the Contract
• Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia VI: Public Policy and Illegality

These volumes will be a most important addition to the international scholarship on contract law and comparative law.

The 14 participating countries are:

• China
• India
• Japan
• Korea
• Singapore
• Hong Kong
• Taiwan
• Indonesia
• Malaysia
• Philippines
• Thailand
• Vietnam
• Thailand
• Cambodia

The three reasons that drove this project correspond to the three dimensions of this project.

First, there is a gulf of ignorance in the 'West' about the contract laws of Asia. As more attention is paid to the rising power and emerging markets of Asia, the time is ripe for filling this gap. So, the
project convenors aim to provide in the English language:

• An authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the contract laws of major Asian jurisdictions
• Some discussion of the values and policies that have shaped the development of the law
• Identification of the current controversies and debates in each jurisdiction
• A bibliography of core literature in each jurisdiction

Second, while there is a long history of comparative contract law studies in Europe, and a healthy body of such literature in the English language, there is almost no such literature on Asian contract law.

Comparative contract law scholarship has tended to gravitate vertically towards the source
jurisdiction since most Asian jurisdictions are based on one or other European models, particularly
English, German and French law. Some comparisons are done with European or transnational
instruments or restatements (e.g. PECL, DCFR, CISG or PICC). These are obviously important, but it is also important to show whether and if so how European-sourced laws acquired different characteristics in the Asian recipient jurisdictions. This will yield insights into the issue of 'legal transplant', which is a central topic in comparative law. In the papers, the contributors have already seen some very interesting ‘mutations’ of (or as Professor Chen says ‘improvements on’) the original transplant, and they observed the phenomenon of double transplant: eg German to Japan to Thai; English to Indian to Malaysian. This overlaps with the third dimension of this project.

Third, there is also a need to know how the contract laws of Asian jurisdictions compare with each other. There is horizontal comparison. Diversity is an obstacle to mutual understanding and to trade. This is the assumption behind the European or transnational instruments or restatements. In Asia, regionalism has progressed at a much slower pace. Europe has a customs union, a single market, and a common currency, all supported by an extensive institutional structure and a large regional bureaucracy, these are largely absent in Asia – due to its unique historical experiences and political developments, especially after World War II.

The project convenors met some of the contributors through the Principles of Asian Contract Law project. That project must be firmly based on horizontal comparisons of the contract laws of Asia.

So, there is a need to:

• Identify the points of convergence-divergence in the different laws?
• Examine whether there is a distinctively Asian perspective on contract law issues? If so, see how this may compares with the emerging shape of European contract law?


These volumes will:

• Be a valuable resource for scholars, students, legal practitioners, business people, policymakers, governments and law-makers all over the world
• Facilitate the development and teaching of courses on comparative Asian contract law worldwide, educating future generations of lawyers in this area of expertise
• Provide the necessary groundwork for the current initiative towards the harmonisation of
contract law in Asia



Front row from left:
Associate Professor Gary F. Bell (NUS Law), Dr Munin Pongsapan (Thammasat University), Dr Lee Yin Harn (University of Sheffield), Professor Cheong May Fong (Australian Catholic University), Professor Stefan Vogenauer (Max Planck Society), Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart (Oxford University/NUS Law), Professor Hiroo Sono (Hokkaido University), Associate Professor Dr Tay Pek San (University of Malaya) & Associate Professor Dora Neo (NUS Law), Professor Hugh Beale (Warwick University).

Second row from left:
Mr Muhammad Rifky Wicaksono (Universitas Gajah Mada), Associate Professor Kelry Loi (NUS Law), Professor Chen Tsung-Fu (National Taiwan University), Dr Michael Dizon (University of Waikato), Professor Shen Wei (Shandong University Law School), Mr KV Krisnaprasad (Oxford University), Associate Professor Shivprasad Swaminathan (Jindal Global University), Assistant Professor Rachel Leow (NUS Law) & Associate Professor Tham Chee Ho (Singapore Management University).

Third row from left:
Professor Adrian Briggs (Oxford University), Dr Tran Kien (Vietnam National University), Associate Professor Burton Ong (NUS Law), Professor Kong Phallack (Pannasastra University of Cambodia), Mr Do Giang Nam (Vietnam), Professor Michael Bridge (NUS Law), The Honorable Justice and Professor Jan Sheng-Lin (The Constitutional Court Taiwan and National Taiwan University), Sheridan Fellow Timothy Liau (NUS Law) & Ms Irina Sakharova (NUS Law).


Welcome remarks by Professor Simon Chesterman



Opening remarks by conference convenor Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart


From left: The Honorable Justice and Professor Jan Sheng-Lin (The Constitutional Court Taiwan and National Taiwan University), Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart, Professor Hugh Beale (Warwick University) & Professor Chen Tsung-Fu (National Taiwan University).

From Left: Associate Professor Shivprasad Swaminathan (Jindal Global University), Professor Cheong May Fong (Australian Catholic University) & Associate Professor Dr Tay Pek San (University of Malaya)


Professor Tan Cheng Han, Chairman, EW Barker Centre for Law & Business


Ms Irina Sakharova (NUS Law)


Associate Professor Goh Yihan, Dean, Singapore Management University (SMU), School of Law


From left: The Honorable Justice and Professor Jan Sheng-Lin (The Constitutional Court Taiwan and National Taiwan University), Dr Tran Kien (Vietnam National University) & Mr Do Giang Nam (Vietnam).


Professor Adrian Briggs (Oxford University)


Mr Muhammad Rifky Wicaksono (Universitas Gajah Mada)


From left: Dr Lee Yin Harn (University of Sheffield) & Professor Cheong May Fong (Australian Catholic University)


Associate Professor Tham Chee Ho (SMU) & Sheridan Fellow Timothy Liau (NUS Law).


Professor Michael Bridge (NUS Law)


Dr Michael Dizon (University of Waikato)

 

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