On the Need for a Uniform Choice of Law Code

At first blush, the notion of a uniform choice of law code seems almost paradoxical. After all, the primary mission of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) is to promote uniformity in the law, while choice of law exists only because laws are not uniform. To be sure, the Constitution of the NCCUSL limits the organization’s objective to promoting uniformity “where uniformity is desirable and practicable,” which leaves plenty of room for different laws and hence for choice of law. But even so, one would expect the Commissioners to devote their limited resources to reducing the conflicts that necessitate choice of law rather than to improving the choice of law process itself.

Possibly for this reason, the National Conference has not spent much time on choice of law. It has, over the years, adopted a few measures dealing with particular conflicts problems, but choice of law as a field has largely been ignored. This essay argues that such indifference is a mistake and that the NCCUSL should make a place on its agenda for comprehensive treatment of choice of law. Indeed, a uniform choice of law code promulgated under the auspices of the NCCUSL could be as important and useful in this field as the Commissioners’ most notable achievement – the Uniform Commercial Code – was in the field of commercial relations.