Interpretive Uncertainty: Methodological Solutions for Interpreting the CISG

Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Handelsrecht (NTHR) 2012, pp. 52-69

18 Pages Posted: 6 May 2012

See all articles by Andre Janssen

Andre Janssen

University of Muenster - Faculty of Law - Centre for European Private Law

Larry A. DiMatteo

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: May 5, 2012

Abstract

This article will focus on the methodological questions relating to the interpretation of the CISG. Due to the fact that the authors are from the United States and Germany, and therefore have different legal backgrounds, it is clear that the CISG methodology will be viewed from different perspectives. Despite a conscious attempt to be detached, a certain degree of ‘methodological homeward trend’ will creep into the analysis – hopefully, to a minimal extent. This contribution will not be concerned with the interpretative aims under Article 7(1) CISG, nor will it analyse the interpretation of statements according to Article 8 CISG or the gap-filling mandate of Article 7(2) CISG. The focus here is the development, or lack of development, of CISG interpretive methodologies, or, put another way, the development or use of existing interpretive methodologies in the interpretation of the CISG. Even though Articles 7(1), 7(2), and 8 CISG may be relevant to this analysis, we are more interested in the different interpretive methodologies that can be applied to the CISG. The first part of the contribution will begin with the use, from a civil law perspective, of the ‘traditional’ domestic methods for the interpretation of statutes: (1) grammatical (or literal) interpretation, (2) systemic interpretation, (3) historical interpretation, and (4) teleological (or purposive/dynamic) interpretation. In addition, the relative ‘weight’ of these four methods and their appropriateness in interpreting the CISG will be analysed. The second part will then leave the area of the four aforementioned traditional methods of interpretation and focus on further methodological tools for interpreting the CISG, including analogical reasoning, comparative law analysis, economic analysis, contextualism, use of scholarly commentary, reasoning from soft law, good faith interpretation and interpretation from party- generated rules. The contribution finishes with a short conclusion.

Keywords: CISG, International Sales Law, Interpretation, Art. 7(1) CISG

Suggested Citation

Janssen, Andre and DiMatteo, Larry A., Interpretive Uncertainty: Methodological Solutions for Interpreting the CISG (May 5, 2012). Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Handelsrecht (NTHR) 2012, pp. 52-69, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2051499

Andre Janssen (Contact Author)

University of Muenster - Faculty of Law - Centre for European Private Law ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 14-16
Muenster, 48143
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.jura.uni-muenster.de/index.cfm?objectID=2757FDE1-DC54-0B88-6839DA5E02BAF5DE

Larry A. DiMatteo

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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