Interpretation of 'Writing': Comparison Between Provisions of the CISG (Article 13) and Counterpart Provisions of the PECL
The Vindobona Journal of International Commercial Law and Arbitration, Vol. 6, pp. 267-274, 2002
8 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2007
The application and interpretation of international Uniform Law Conventions often faces difficulties in areas where technical developments have occured which were not foreseen at the time the Convention's text was adopted. Under the arguably most successful convention in the field of international contract law, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods of 11 April 1980 (CISG), the question has arisen whether contracts containing a 'no oral modifications' clause requiring changes to the contract to be 'in writing' can be modified using modern means of communication as fax, e-mail, sms etc.
The present paper argues that Article 13 CISG which defines the term 'in writing' for purposes of the Convention should be interpreted as allowing for modern means of communication to be used in this respect. In doing so, reference is made to the counterpart provisions in the Principles of European Contract Law (PECL or Lando-Principles), and detailed solutions are suggested for the various means of communication commonly used in e-commerce.
Keywords: CISG, UN Sales Convention, e-commerce, electronic commerce, writing requirement, no oral modification clause, merger clause, form requirement, e-mail
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