The CISG in Australia - The Jigsaw Puzzle Missing a Piece
Vindobona Journal of International Commercial Law and Arbitration, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2010
30 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2015
Date Written: 2010
The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, commonly known as the Vienna Sales Convention or CISG, came into force on 1 January 1988. The Convention became effective in Australia on 1 April 1989. More than 20 years have now passed since the CISG became effective in Australia. The Convention has gained wide acceptance, though not to the same extent in Australia. In contrast to the position in some other legal systems, where basic treatises on contracts include extensive reference to the CISG, Australia (following the common law tradition) does not display such openness.
In light of this, it is timely to give some thought as to how Australian practitioners, their clients and the courts can effectively navigate the boundaries between domestic and international sales law. This paper contends that the CISG in Australia resembles a jigsaw puzzle missing a critical piece - that piece being an authoritative, appellate level judicial decision clearly confirming the parameters within which the CISG operates in domestic Australian law. Part II of this paper first analyses the boundary between domestic and international sales law, by reviewing the rules relating to the CISG's application. Part III of this paper examines how Australian courts have approached the CISG's interaction with domestic law. Finally, it is concluded that, on the unhappy state of the present authorities, an authoritative, appellate level judicial decision clarifying the CISG's place in domestic law is the 'missing piece' that the CISG jigsaw puzzle in Australia badly needs.
Keywords: international sale of goods, CISG, international law, domestic law, statutory interpretation, doctrine of precedent
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