The competition is often weak: much of China’s commercial law was written by Communist Party officials and is riddled with errors; and though India adopted much of English common law, its courts are notoriously slow. But the incumbents’ biggest advantage is that they have common-law systems with centuries of binding precedent. That means they offer as much certainty as any jurisdiction can. In civil-law countries such as France, Portugal and Spain, and their ex-colonies, judges have wide latitude to interpret statutes, increasing the risk of nasty legal surprises. Common law also permits almost any terms in a contract. Civil systems place more restrictions on acceptable clauses, and often consider the interests of third parties, such as workers or consumers.