In the transnational world of commercial shipping, matters of private international law, especially as regards the choice of law in contracts, are of immense significance. It is also a matter of law which many in the developed countries take for granted. Whether the legal system in western Europe is left or right in the political economy spectrum there is due recognition that for transnational commerce to work successfully contractual choice of law rules not only need to be clear and certain, but, to a large extent, be rooted in a policy of trade promotion and the principle of civil justice. The EU's Rome I Regulation 1 which harmonises the contractual choice of law rules amongst the Member States, for instance, makes that plain in recital 6 of its Preamble:

'The proper functioning of the internal market creates a need, in order to improve the predictability of the outcome of litigation, certainty as to the law applicable and the free movement of judgments, for the conflict-of-law rules in the Member States to designate the same national law irrespective of the country of the court in which an action is brought.'

This objective is predicated on the larger paradigm set out in recital 1 of the Preamble, namely, that of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice which in turn requires 'judicial cooperation in civil matters with a cross-border impact to the extent necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market'. 2