Jan Smits, ‘Problems of Uniform Sales Law – Why the CISG May Not Promote International Trade’

The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is the prime example of unification of private law at the global level. With over 75 contracting States that make up for an increasing number of the world’s largest economies, the CISG is usually seen as a big success. However, this assessment is largely based on how States perceive the advantages of the CISG. This contribution asks how other actors involved in the legal process (such as commercial parties, attorneys, in house-lawyers and courts) perceive the CISG. To this end, three persistent problems of the CISG are identified: its problematic uniform application by national and arbitral courts, its regular exclusion by parties, and its incompleteness. This calls for recognition that the establishment of a global uniform law is not the only possible way in which international trade can be promoted. It would be equally important to allow parties to make the national jurisdiction of their choice applicable to the contract. The value of the CISG then lies primarily in providing commercial parties with a common frame of reference, allowing them to compare the solutions of the CISG with various national jurisdictions and to act upon this.

Smits, Jan M., Problems of Uniform Sales Law – Why the CISG May Not Promote International Trade (January 7, 2013). Maastricht Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2013/1.

First posted 2013-01-10 07:33:29

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