CONTRACTS AND BUSINESS LAW
a. Convergence of common law and civil law in contracts theory and practice
Convergence constitutes the evolution of the legal institutions of different legal systems where the legal institution of one system resembles the other and the legal norms, principles, and scholarly comments of both are used in equal measure and even regarded with equal authority. Unlike harmonization, which implies a deliberate and negotiated process aimed at producing a legislative or other conventional act, convergence constitutes a natural, or unconscious, common development of legal institutions through mutual interest. Convergence is the result of a tendency in similar nations to have similar problems and to arrive at similar ways of perceiving and dealing with them.
The purpose of this research program is to show that commercial agreements constitute an area where there is a clear convergence between common law and civil law jurisdictions. Underlying the premise behind this research program is my conception that despite the view of the majority of authors, common law, especially as applied in the United States, and civil law, particularly as applied in Western Europe and Latin America, present remarkably common features owed both to their common historical sources –Roman law and northern natural law and late scholastics school- and to similar fundamental social policy objectives, which are slowly and gradually taking them toward convergence.
This project is inserted within the transsystemic law movement that aims at integrating Quebec and Anglo-Canadian law. The findings of this work, which already produced the publication of three articles, are expected to shed some light on future research on other legal areas where civil and common law traditions also present a certain high degree of uniformity.
b. Legal risk management in regulated industries: The case of the United States aerospace industry
Due to the existing governmental regulations, the risk-allocation system, in particular the management of legal space risks, has become quite rigid and highly standardized in the US space industry, which gives industry players little room for negotiation. The purpose of my work is to explore the way the so called legal space risks are managed in the space transportation industry, with the view toward proposing an alternative model for the distribution of first and third party risks. The proposed model calls for departing from the current insurance/government indemnification scheme which predominates in the US and international commercial space sector. This proposed model seeks to permit the major industry players to freely resort to other risk management tools, which are currently legally unavailable. This research program has already resulted in the publication of two articles. My goal, in the next one to two years, is to write a comprehensive book on the evolution of the policy underlying the regulations of legal risk management in the US space industry and to discuss my proposed alternative model. This research can later be extended to the analysis of the management of legal risks in other highly regulated industries.