Hard Cases Under the Convention on the International Sale of Goods: A Proposed Taxonomy of Interpretive Challenges

79 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2010  

H. Allen Blair

Hamline University - School of Law

Date Written: October 21, 2010

Abstract

CISG was formally uniform at the time of its adoption. It used the same words in all of the jurisdictions adopting it. But uniform words are not enough to guarantee uniform application. For many commentators, in fact, the most significant impediment to the continued existence or efficacy of the CISG is the lack of uniform interpretive outcomes in hard CISG cases – cases where a CISG provision is vague either on its face or in its application. Without greater uniformity of interpretive outcomes, these commentators suggest, the CISG will, over time, fail to supply standard solutions to similar contracting problems and thus fail to supply the predictability that parties need. In this Article, Professor Allen Blair argues that these commentators start with an exaggerated expectation about the kind and degree of uniformity called for by the CISG and demanded by parties. Contrary to the standard conception of CISG interpretation, uniformity of interpretive outcomes is an improper goal with respect to CISG provisions cast as open-textured standards, and any effort to harden these standards into rigid rules could, in fact, undermine the efficiency goals of contracting parties.

Keywords: CISG, Convention on the International Sale of Goods, International Sales, Sale of Goods, International Commercial Law, International Business Transactions

Suggested Citation

Blair, H. Allen, Hard Cases Under the Convention on the International Sale of Goods: A Proposed Taxonomy of Interpretive Challenges (October 21, 2010). Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695634

Henry Allen Blair (Contact Author)

Hamline University - School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States
651-523-2794 (Phone)

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