The Treatment of CISG Article 79 in German Courts: Halting the Homeward Trend

Nordic Journal of Commercial Law, Issue 2, 2012

Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 7/2013

32 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2012 Last revised: 6 Mar 2013

Date Written: December 20, 2012


This article analyzes the treatment of CISG Article 79 by the German courts. Indeed, as one of the most prolific adjudicators of CISG jurisprudence, there now exists a critical mass of case law on Article 79 in Germany. The focus on a specific CISG provision by a specific jurisdiction wields invaluable information about the treatment of Article 79 by that signatory state. It finds that German courts have played a preeminent role in the interpretation of Article 79. In particular, German courts have generally eschewed the “homeward trend” that has plagued a number of other signatory states. This is an important development towards a conceptual goal of functional uniformity to which the CISG aspires. It also demonstrates that a specific CISG article - Article 79 - can stand alone as an autonomous international principle, without being charged with competing domestic principles. Article 79 has thus evolved - at least in Germany - into an autonomous international norm. This development suggests that Article 79 is capable of creating relative uniformity within the context of the CISG’s goal for a sales law that is truly transnational in design.

Keywords: CISG, Article 79, German courts, homeward trend, Force Majeure, Impossibility, Frustration, international sales law, autonomous legal orders, private international law

Suggested Citation

Mazzacano, Peter J., The Treatment of CISG Article 79 in German Courts: Halting the Homeward Trend (December 20, 2012). Nordic Journal of Commercial Law, Issue 2, 2012; Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 7/2013. Available at SSRN:

Peter J. Mazzacano (Contact Author)

University of Derby Online Learning ( email )

Room 208, Enterprise Centre, 37 Bridge Street
Derby, DE1 3LD
United Kingdom


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