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Unification of private law is principally a task undertaken by the Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), while the codification and progressive development of international law constitute the dual function of the International Law Commission (ILC). The purpose of this brief essay is to illustrate how in several areas and in more aspects than one, the activities of UNIDROIT and the achievements of the Commission can be found in the same or similar, if not indeed identical, overlapping areas of study.

It is not intended to attempt a comprehensive survey of past performance and experience of the two norm-formulating agencies. Both are inter-governmental in their constitution, while each working group and individual member acts in a personal, independent and expert capacity, not directly under the instruction or control of any Government, nor in any representative function. It is accordingly opportune to examine the various aspects of these two law-generating bodies and to compare, and in some cases contrast or distinguish, the aims and purposes of their functions, the different approaches and methods of work adopted for the study and preparation of draft articles in some selected topics that appear highly interesting and broadly similar, and the usefulness and utility of their final products, findings or recommendations.


Originally published in the Uniform Law Review/Revue de droit uniforme,