Conference on “Pacta Sunt Servanda in Changing Times” (online)

25 June, 2021 

The CCTL Obligations Lab Asia organised on 25 June 2021 the online conference “Pacta Sunt Servanda in Changing Times.”

The conference brought together 40 speakers, academics and legal practitioners, from the Asia Pacific region, Central Asia, and Europe to discuss the application of the Pacta Sunt Servanda (PSS) principle in different legal fields and jurisdictions.

In his opening remarks the Dean of CUHK LAW, Prof. Lutz-Christian Wolff mentioned how COVID19 and the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 have disrupted our lives and conditioned the regular execution of contracts challenging the notion of the binding force of contracts. In addition, it appeared that research regarding any special meaning of PSS in Asia was still at an early stage. Comparative studies of the PSS principle in Asia and other parts of the world had therefore become very important and the conference aimed to address the need to cover the topic from various angles.

The esteemed speakers examined the significance of the PSS principle and its versatility under different perspectives. Relying on different methodologies they covered a wide range of legal fields in which contracts are fundamental from consumer protection to international commerce, from labour law to shipping and finance.

The impact of COVID-19 on contract law was assessed through a comparative examination of regulatory responses in different jurisdictions, the flexibility of the contracts, and the role of the courts. Panellists also examined the significance of PSS in international financial law, scrutinising recent M&A practices, and assessing the geopolitical implications of the involvement of state-owned enterprises in international contracts.

One panel dealt with contemporary (and disruptive) issues related to PSS such as the technological transformation and smart contracts, and the climate change challenge. The recent introduction of the Chinese Civil Code and the significance of the PSS principle was another research area that stimulated interesting analysis and discussions.

Highlights of the conference were the keynote address of the Honourable Ma Tao-Li, former Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, on “Contract Law and the Rule of Law” and a distinguished lecture on “The Future of Contract Law” delivered by Prof. Neil Andrews, University of Cambridge.

Over 220 participants from all over the world attended the event.

Click here for more information of the conference.