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Over the past four decades, the transnational business community has successfully built a private system of transnational governance: the new Lex Mercatoria. The actors who operate this system – firms, their lawyers, international arbitrators, and legal academics – have evolved, and use, ‘a-national’ principles of contract and a system of private ‘courts’ to organize and regulate cross-border commercial exchange. National legal systems have adapted to the Lex Mercatoria, thereby enhancing the latter’s autonomy, and the EU has begun to move in the same direction.

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