The Interpretation of International Sales Law and International Commercial Arbitration Law in Australia


Australia has adopted internationally-promulgated laws relating to international sales and international commercial arbitration, which are all intended to promote international trade. This project addresses the extent to which they are interpreted by Australian courts in an internationalist spirit.


Project background and aims

Australia relies on international trade as a key source of economic activity, and its international sales law and international commercial arbitration law aim to support that trade. Those laws can only support that trade, however, if they are interpreted in an internationalist spirit: such that Australian courts’ interpretations of these laws are in step with the interpretations given to those same international texts in other courts in other countries.

This project investigates the extent to which such ‘internationalist interpretations’ are evident in Australia’s case law. A careful investigation of Australia’s recent case law discloses that internationalist interpretations of Australia’s international commercial arbitration laws have improved over time, while the opposite is true with respect to Australia’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. This being the case, recommendations are made as to how Australian courts’ interpretations of Australia’s international sales law can be made more internationalist, and thus improved.


The researchers draw upon doctrinal analysis to determine the extent to which a legal requirement of internationalist interpretation exists for the laws under examination, and the extent to which such interpretation is evident in recent decisions of Australia’s courts.


Andrea Anastasi, Benjamin Hayward and Stephanie Peta Brown, ‘An Internationalist Approach to Interpreting Private International Law? Arbitration and Sales Law in Australia’ (2020) 44(1) Melbourne University Law Review 1