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Court voids contract not written in Indonesian; Chinese contracts might be best written in Chinese

Drafters of cross-border contracts should keep in mind that some countries might require contracts to be written in the local language. This apparently happened in an Indonesian court case.  See Bernard H. Sihombing, The Supreme Court Dismissed Appeal Against Court Decisions Which Ruled That Contract Written In English Void (Mondaq.com Feb. 16, 2016).

This brought to mind something I’d read before, namely that if a contract might someday have to be enforced in a Chinese court, it might be best to draft and negotiate a Chinese version of the contract “up front.” Apparently Chinese law doesn’t require contracts to be in English, but taking a non-Chinese-language contract to court would require translation into Chinese by an official court translator, and that might be an iffy proposition. See generally Steve Dickinson, China Contracts: Make Them Enforceable Or Don’t Bother (ChinaLawBlog Aug. 18, 2015).

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