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CISG CASE PRESENTATION

Switzerland 23 May 2006 Higher Cantonal Court Valais (Suits case) [translation available]
[Cite as: http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cases/060523s1.html]

Primary source(s) of information for case presentation: Case text

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Case identification

DATE OF DECISION: 20060523 (23 May 2006)

JURISDICTION: Switzerland

TRIBUNAL: Tribunal cantonal [Higher Cantonal Court] Valais

JUDGE(S): Jérôme Emonet (président); Hermann Murmann, Dr. Lionel Seeberger (juges)

CASE NUMBER/DOCKET NUMBER: C1 06 28

CASE NAME: Unavailable

CASE HISTORY: Unavailable

SELLER'S COUNTRY: France (plaintiff)

BUYER'S COUNTRY: Switzerland (defendant)

GOODS INVOLVED: Suits


UNCITRAL case abstract

SWITZERLAND: Cantonal Court of the Canton of Valais, 23 May 2006 (Suits case)

Case law on UNCITRAL texts [A/CN.9/SER.C/ABSTRACTS/93],
CLOUT abstract no. 930

Reproduced with permission of UNCITRAL

Abstract prepared by Thomas M. Mayer

The judgment in the present case related to a claim for payment of the sale price in respect of several deliveries from a French supplier of garments to a Swiss trader.

The court found that the seller had fulfilled its contractual obligations and was thus entitled to settlement of the outstanding invoices. That being so, it concluded that the fact that the contractual relationship was subject to the International Rules for the Interpretation of Trade Terms (Incoterms) did not mean an implicit exclusion but constituted rather a derogation from specific provisions of the CISG, such as those relating to the passing of risk. The CISG was therefore applicable to the contract by reason of its article 1 (1) (a), since both parties had their places of business in different contracting States.

The court ordered the defendant to pay, in addition to the sale price claimed, the costs of recovery for 790.00 Swiss francs pursuant to article 74 CISG. It also ordered the defendant to pay interest on arrears, the amount of which was to be fixed in accordance with national law as determined by Swiss private international law, i.e., in the present case, French law.

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Classification of issues present

APPLICATION OF CISG: Yes [Article (1)(a)]

APPLICABLE CISG PROVISIONS AND ISSUES

Key CISG provisions at issue: Articles 4 ; 10 ; 74 ; 78 [Also cited: Articles 7(2) ; 14 ; 30 ; 31 ; 32 ; 36 ; 39 ; 45 ; 53 ; 54 ; 57 ; 58 ; 59 ; 61 ]

Classification of issues using UNCITRAL classification code numbers:

4B [Scope of Convention (issues excluded): currency of payment, assignment issues];

10A [Relevant place of business];

74A [General rules for measuring damages: loss suffered as consequence of breach];

78B [Rate of interest]

Descriptors: Scope of Convention ; Assignment ; Currency issues ; Business, place of ; Damages ; Collection costs ; Interest

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Editorial remarks

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Citations to other abstracts, case texts and commentaries

CITATIONS TO OTHER ABSTRACTS OF DECISION

Unavailable

CITATIONS TO TEXT OF DECISION

Original language (French): CISG-online.ch website <http://www.cisg-online.ch/cisg/urteile/1532.pdf>

Translation (English): Text presented below

CITATIONS TO COMMENTS ON DECISION

Unavailable

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Case text (English translation) [second draft]

Queen Mary Case Translation Programme

Higher Cantonal Court (Tribunal cantonal) Valais

23 May 2006 [C1 06 28]

Translation [*] by Nathalie Hofmann [**]

[...]

PROCEDURE

A. By statement of claim from 20 January 2005, Plaintiff [Seller's assignee] brought an action against Defendant [Buyer] making the following submissions:

1.   [Buyer] has to pay to [Seller's assignee] the sum of 11,184.20 Swiss francs [Sf], with interest at 5%, running from 15 April 2003.
 
2.   [Buyer] has to pay the sum of 790 Sf, with interest at 5%, running from the day the action was brought.
 
3.   A definite dismissal of the objection to the debt collection procedure No. 299451 at the Office des Poursuites [*] in Monthey is to be accorded.
 
3.   [sic] The costs and expenses of the procedure and the judgment have to be borne by [Buyer].

By statement of defense of 24 March 2005, [Buyer] asked for the claim to be rejected, including costs and expenses.

B. [Buyer] did not attend the preliminary hearing of 22 September 2005, which is why the judge ordered her to pay 260 Sf to the [Seller's assignee] for expenses and scheduled a new hearing.

After an exchange in writing and a further preliminary hearing held on 13 October 2005, Maitre Derivaz, attorney of [Buyer], informed the judge on 1 December 2005 that he had abandoned his brief. By order of 2 December 2005 the judge, applying Art. 34(1) CPC [*] and on penalty of default, set [Buyer] the date of 6 January 2006 to assign another counsel.

On 9 January 2006, since [Buyer] did not react, the judge set her an ultimate period of ten days to assign a counsel. The order mentioned that if she did not use this new period, a default judgment would be rendered.

[Buyer] did not follow this order in any way.

C. On 1 February 2006, the case was transmitted to the Tribunal cantonal for examining of the conditions of default and, if necessary, for a default judgment.

THE REASONING OF THE TRIBUNAL CANTONAL

I. Preliminary

      1.  a) On account of the sum involved in the action (11,974.20 Sf; Art. 15(1) CPC), the Tribunal cantonal is competent to examine if the conditions of default are met and, if necessary, to render a default judgment (Art. 23(1)(b) CPC in conjunction with Art. 46 OJ [*]; Art. 101 (5) CPC; RVJ [*] 1994 p.125 consid. [*] 1a and 1b; 1991 p. 394 consid. 1d).

            b) The [Buyer] had been ordered twice to assign a counsel, the second time with express mention of the consequences of default (Art. 34(2), 100 and 102(1) and (3) CPC). She did not comply with these injunctions. By reference, Art. 34(2) CPC, Art. 100 CPC provide that, save any contrary provision in the Code of Procedure, the judge who is competent for the merits of the case will render a default judgment in case of non respect of the second period of time, given that the non-defaulting party has not renounced in writing after the default. Since such a renouncement was not made, a default judgment is to be rendered.

            c) In terms of Art. 102(1) CPC, in case of a judgment by default, the alleged facts and the submissions of the non-defaulting party are admitted as true unless it results from the records or the legal situation that the claim is manifestly inadmissible or unfounded. A claim which permits a legal interpretation justifying its allowance is not manifestly inadmissible as long as its inexactness does not result from the records. The judge cannot be compelled by the rules of procedure to excuse an inexact application of the material law with his authority (RVJ 1995 p. 164 consid. 1c; 1992 p. 205 consid. 1c and the cited references; Ducrot, Le droit judiciare privé valaisan, 2000, p. 420).

II. Ruling on the facts

      2.  a) It results from allegations of the [Seller's assignee], which are not contradicted by the records, that [Buyer], former holder of the business name S..., has made several orders of clothes from [Seller] of Arcueil (France).

[Seller] sent the ordered goods on 5 February, 26 March, 3 April and 9 April 2003 and, subsequently, sent [Buyer] six bills, expressed in Swiss francs, with the indication "Devise/Secteur CHF FRANCS SUISSE" and the following details:

In total, the bills amount to 11,184.19 Sf. All bills had to be paid within 60 days ("Condition of payment 60 days from the date of the bill, net cash, discount 4% within 10 days, 2.25% for payment within 30 days"). The bills also mentioned as a delivery condition "DDP Delivered Duty Paid CP 55 1870 Monthey."

On 17 April, 16 May, 17 June and 16 October 2003 [Seller] sent reminders to [Buyer]. By courier on 29 October 2003, [Seller's assignee], acting on account of [Seller], has informed [Buyer] that a procedure would be initiated against her if she did not pay her debt, including interest and fees, by 9 November 2003. The fees amount to 790 Sf and are mentioned in the document under "supplementary fees".

             b) On 15 January 2004, [Seller] assigned the claim for an amount of 11,184.20 Sf against [Buyer] to [Seller's assignee], plus interest and fees, concerning the bills from 6 February 2003 to 11 April 2003, "mit allen Rechten und Nebenrechten gemäss Art. 164 ff OR" [*].

            c) Given that [Buyer] had not paid the amount owed, she was notified of a summons to pay on 27 January 2004 (procedure No. 299451 at the Office des Poursuites in Monthey). She filed an objection.

By courier on 11 March 2004, [Seller's assignee] set [Buyer] an ultimate time limit to sign a form to withdraw her objection and a payment proposal. [Buyer] did not react to this.

III. Ruling on the law

      3.  a) Art. 1(2) LDIP [*] provides for the application of international treaties in the field of international jurisdiction, in particular, the Lugano Convention of 16 September 1988, concerning Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (hereafter: Lugano Convention), entered into force on 1 January 1992 between Switzerland and France (Art. 61(3) Lugano Convention). When evaluating whether a legal situation has an international character, the situation at the time of the conclusion of the contract is relevant. It does not matter if after the conclusion of the contract a situation became national, for example, because one of the parties changed its residence or, the other way round, if a national situation became international for such reason (Dutoit, La Convention de Lugano du 16 septembre 1988, FJS [*] n 157, 2004, p. 52). Given that the parties had their residence respectively in France and in Switzerland at the time of the conclusion of the contract, the Lugano Convention is applicable (Art. 54(1) Lugano Convention; ATF [*] 119 II 391 consid. 2; RVJ 1995 p. 164 consid. 1(a).

Since the Defendant [Buyer] had been resident in Switzerland, the international jurisdiction of Swiss courts follows directly from Art. 2 Lugano Convention. While this provision only determines the general jurisdiction, it does not specify which Swiss court is territorially competent; for that reason Art. 112 LDIP remains applicable. The last cited article provides primarily for the jurisdiction of the Swiss courts of the Defendant [Buyer]'s residence (Bucher/Bonomi, Droit international privé, 2004, p. 245).

            b) The judge examines his competence over the matter ex officio (Art. 14 CPC). The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods, adopted in Vienna on 11 April 1980 (hereafter: CISG) constitutes an autonomous law, establishing the competence of the seized court as sole instance and giving leave to review for examination of the law to the Tribunal féderal (RVJ 1994 p. 125 consid. 1a and b), for disputes concerning an amount of at least 8,000 francs (Art. 46 OJ; Art. 23 (1)(b) CPC).

             c) In the present case, Defendant [Buyer] has her residence in Monthey [Switzerland], herefrom follows that the ordinary judicial authorities of the canton of Valais are territorially competent; therefore, in consideration of the amount in dispute (11,974.20 Sf), the seized court is competent to rule on the case.

            d) Concerning the applicable law, Art. 118 LDIP is to be matched up with the CISG. If both parties have their places of business in Contracting States (Art. 1(1)(a) CISG), the CISG prevails over Art. 118 LDIP for all questions governed by the Convention (Dutoit, Commentaire de la loi féderale du 18 décembre 1987, 2005, no. 9 under Art. 118 LDIP). The notion of "établissement" ["place of business"] is not defined by the CISG, but a uniform legal interpretation has developed: It is sufficient if an organization of certain constancy and determined commercial activity exists, which can be distinguished from market stands or store-rooms for goods (Hermann, Anwendungsbereich des Wiener Kaufrechts, in Wiener Kaufrecht, Stämpfli, p. 86 [hereafter cited as: "Wiener Kaufrecht"]).

In the present case, the parties to the contract have their places of business in two different Contracting States: [Seller] in France and [Buyer] in Switzerland. The CISG is thus applicable.

      4.  a) The CISG exclusively governs the formation of the contract of sale and the rights and obligations of the buyer and the seller which arise from such a contract (Art. 4 sentence 1 CISG). A contract of sale in the sense of the CISG is defined as a contract by which one party engages to deliver the goods, to transfer the property in the goods and, if applicable, to hand over the relating documents while the other party engages to pay the price and to take delivery (Neumayer/Ming, Convention de Vienne sur les contrats de vente internationale de merchandises, commentaire, 1993, no. 1 under Art. 1 CISG).

Articles 14 to 24 CISG concern the formation of the contract of sale: If a sufficiently definite offer was accepted by its addressee and if the declaration of acceptance has reached the offeree, the contract is considered as concluded.

            b) In the present case, several contracts of sale were concluded, all resulting from orders made by the [Buyer], which were accepted by the [Seller]. The orders, deduced from the corresponding bills, were almost certainly received in France since there is no indication of a Swiss address of [Seller].

      5. A seller and a buyer have reciprocal obligations arising from the conclusion of the contract of sale.

            a)  aa) The obligations of the seller are enumerated in the articles 30 et. seq. CISG. Art. 31(a) CISG concerns sales contracts which involve carriage of the goods. For the seller, the delivery consists in handing the goods over to the carrier (railway company, company for transport by truck, postal service, etc.) for transmission to the buyer. The carrier must be independent from both seller and buyer in order that this article can be applied (Neumayer/Ming, op. cit., no. 4 et. seq. under Art. 31 CISG). Furthermore, according to Art. 32 CISG, the goods must be identified, for example, by a label or the address of the addressee (Neumayer/Ming, op. cit., no. 2 under Art. 32 CISG). The submission of the contractual relationship to international rules for the interpretation of contract terms (Incoterms) does not constitute implied exclusion, but rather derogation from specific provisions of the CISG, like those concerning the passing of the risk (Ferrari, Contrat de vente internationale, 2005, p. 131).

                  bb) The obligations of the buyer are regulated by the articles 53 et. seq. CISG. The buyer obliges himself, under the conditions contained in the contract and in the Convention, to pay the price and to take delivery of the goods (Art. 53 CISG). It can be stipulated that the price has to be paid at a particular place (Art. 57 CISG). If the buyer is not bound to pay the price at any other specific time, he must pay it when the seller places either the goods or the documents controlling their disposition at the buyer's disposal in accordance with the contract and the Convention (Art. 58(1) CISG). The intention of the parties is decisive for the due date of the payment of the price; in the absence of an indication of the parties' intention, Art. 58 CISG is applicable. This applies to the place of the payment accordingly. (Wiegand, Die Pflichten des Käufers und die Folgen ihrer Verletzung, in Wiener Kaufrecht, p. 153; Bucher, Überblick über die Neuerung des Wiener Kaufrechts, dessen Verhältnis zur Kaufrechtstradition und zum nationalen Recht, in Wiener Kaufrecht, p. 34). The buyer must pay the price on the date fixed by or determinable from the contract and the Convention without the need for any request or compliance with any formality on the part of the seller (Art. 59 CISG).

                  cc) If the delivered goods do not correspond to the order (non-conformity of the goods with the contract in quantity, quality or type: Art. 36 et. seq. CISG), the buyer can exercise his rights according to the articles 45 et. seq. CISG. He has a "reasonable time" to return the goods or at least to notify the seller of their non-conformity, which implicates the examination of the goods upon receipt, failing which the buyer loses the right to rely on a lack of conformity of the goods (Neumayer/Ming, op. cit., no. 1 et. seq. under Art. 39 CISG).

             b) In the case at hand, the delivery conditions were regulated by the Incoterms 2000 term "DDP Delivered Duty Paid", which signifies that the seller has fulfilled his obligation of delivery at the time when the goods, cleared for import and if necessary correctly identified, are put at the disposal of the buyer at the place agreed on in the country of destination at the stipulated date or within the time agreed on.

In this particular case, the [Buyer] has contented herself with the allegations that some deliveries arrived late, that some of the delivered goods have not corresponded to the order and that she had asked, without success, for the goods to be taken back. None of the documents in the records permit establishing that there had been any problem with the deliveries in question or that [Buyer] had informed [Seller] about her dissatisfaction. The [Buyer] therefore owes the price corresponding to the bills that were addressed to her.

            c) The CISG does not contain any provision concerning the currency or the statutory means of payment. In the absence of contractual conditions specifying the currency of the payment, it is determined by the national law, designated by the rules of conflict of laws (RVJ 1999, p. 227 consid. 3c; Neumayer/Ming, op. cit., no. 4 under Art. 54 CISG).

In the present case, the bills are expressed in Swiss francs, with the indication of Swiss francs under the heading "Devise/Secteur". Hence, the parties have contractually agreed on Swiss francs as currency of the payment. Accordingly, the debt amounts to 11,184.19 Sf (rounded up to 11,184.20 Sf).

      6. The [Seller's assignee] also requests 790 Sf in damages resulting from the steps taken for the debt collection.

            a) If the buyer fails to perform any of his obligations under the contract or the CISG, the seller may claim damages as provided in articles 74 to 77 (Art. 61(1)(b) CISG). The CISG provides that damages for breach of contract by one party consist of a sum equal to the loss, including loss of profit, suffered by the other party as a consequence of the breach. The damages may not exceed the loss which the party in breach foresaw or ought to have foreseen at the time of the conclusion of the contract, in the light of the facts and matters of which he then knew or ought to have known, as a possible consequence of the breach of contract (Art. 74 CISG). Reasonable costs for the recovery of the debt by the creditor are considered to be accessory costs, which can be claimed according to Art. 74 CISG. This includes costs for debt collection proceedings, costs for the assignment of an agency for the collection of foreign debts or extrajudicial lawyer's fees, as long as those expenses are made in direct relation to the recovery of the debt (Brunner, UN-Kaufrecht-CISG, 2004, p. 429).

            b) In the present case, the 790 Sf claimed appear already in the letter from [Seller's assignee] of 29 October 2003 addressed to [Buyer] under the heading "supplementary fees". According to the [Seller's assignee]'s explanation, these fees result from the step taken for the debt collection. These fees satisfy the criteria for the application of Art. 74 CISG (supra consid. 6 a); therefore, they form part of the damages suffered by [Seller] as a result of the [Buyer]'s failure to perform and are thus owed by the [Buyer].

      7. The validity and the extent of the assignment of the debt is still to be examined.

            a) By assignment from 15 January 2004, not contested by the [Buyer] and in compliance with the legal requirements, the [Seller's assignee] became [Buyer]'s creditor of the amount of 11,184.20 Sf in lieu of [Seller].

            b) According to Art. 170 CO [*], the assignment of a debt includes option rights and other accessory rights, apart from those which are inseparable from the person of the assignor. In particular, the right to interest for default (Art. 103 CO) for the period preceding the assignment is considered as inseparable from the person of the assignor (Probst, Commentaire romand, CO-I, 2003, p. 926).

In the present case, [Seller's assignee] did not become creditor of the amount of 790 Sf claimed as costs for the debt collection since this amount did not pass over automatically to the assignee because it relates to a period preceding the assignment and since it is not mentioned independently in the assignment.

Indeed, it is admitted that the [Buyer] owes 11,184.20 Sf to the [Seller's assignee].

      8.  a) The buyer who is in default of payment owes interest from the due date of the payment of the price without any request of the seller (Arts. 59 and 78 CISG; RSDIE [*] 2004 p. 107, and cited references; Neumayer/Ming, op. cit., no. 24, p. 385).

Art. 78 CISG provides for the payment of interest for default without specifying the rate of interest (RVJ 1998 p. 140 consid.5b; 1995 p. 164 consid. 2c; Brunner no. 7 under Art 78 CISG). The interest rate thus has to be determined by the law applicable according to the rules of conflict of laws (Art. 7(2) CISG; decision 4C.179/1998 from 28 October 1998, in RSDIE 1999 p. 181; RSDIE 2005 p. 120; 2004 p. 108). In line with articles 118 LDIP and 3(1) of the 1955 Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to International Sales of Goods (concerning the application of these provisions, cf. RSDIE 2005 p. 120; 2004 p. 108; RVJ 1998 p. 140 consid. 5b; 1995, p. 164 consid. 2c), this is once more the national law of the country in which the seller has his habitual residence at the time of receipt of the order, hence French law.

According to Art. L.313-2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code, the legal interest rate is fixed by decree for the duration of one calendar year. Decree no. 201 of 10 March 2003 (published in the Journal Officiel [*] of 11 March 2003) fixed a legal interest rate of 3.29% for the year 2003. The rate for 2004 was fixed at 2.27% by decree of 13 February 2004 (published in the Journal Officiel of 15 February 2004), the rate for 2005 was fixed at 2.05% by decree of 10 February 2005 (published in the Journal Officiel of 17 February 2005) and, finally, the rate for 2006 was fixed at 2.11% by decree of 31 January 2006 (published in the Journal Officiel of 17 February 2006).

            b) In the present case, the bills nos 5004915, 5013976, 5013974, 5016265, 5016263 and 5016894 had to be paid within 60 days. In these circumstances, [Buyer] has to pay the amount of 11,184.20 Sf to [Seller's assignee], plus interest from 9 May 2003 (average due date) at the rate of 3.29% until 31 December 2003, of 2.27% from 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2004, of 2.05% from 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2005 and of 2.11% from 1 January 2006.

      9.  a) The seized court, when ruling on the action for acknowledgement of debt, can also pronounce the definite dismissal of the objection against a summons to pay a fixed sum, obligatorily expressed in Swiss francs.

            b) In consequence, the definite dismissal of the objection filed against the summons to pay in the debt collection procedure no. 336419 at the Office des Poursuites in Monthey is pronounced; the debt is acknowledged to amount to 11,184.20 Sf plus interest at the rate of 3.29% from 9 May 2003 until 31 December 2003, of 2.27% from 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2004, of 2.05% from 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2005 and of 2.11% from 1 January 2006.

      10.  a) Since the [Seller's assignee] succeeded essentially in the action, the costs and expenses are at the burden of the [Buyer] (Art. 252(1) and Art. 260(1) CPC). They are calculated on the basis of the principles established by the LTar [*].

In accordance with Art. 14(1) LTar, for civil, pecuniary claims for an amount between 8,001 Sf and 20,000 Sf, fees are fixed between 1,000 Sf and 3,000 Sf. In case of a judgment by default, Art. 12(1) LTar provides for a proportional reduction of the fees. Particularly with regard to the sum involved in the action, to the nature and to average difficulty of the case, as well as to the default of the [Buyer] which occurred after the preliminary hearing, but before the hearing of evidence, the legal charges are set at 900 Sf, to be taken from advances paid by the [Buyer]. The remainder of the advances in possession of the clerk of the tribunal, amounting to 800 Sf, will be reimbursed to the [Buyer].

            b) A party who is represented by a lawyer has a right to expenses. These are fixed extensively and encompass the compensation on which the party can insist as well as the lawyer's fees (art. 3 LTar).

In consideration of the average difficulty of the case, of the extent of the work, of the time necessarily spent for the case and of the state of the procedure at which the default occurred, the remuneration of the lawyer of the [Seller's assignee] is to be fixed at 1,200 Sf, expenses included. Consequently, the [Buyer] has to pay a compensation of 1,200 Sf in expenses to the [Seller's assignee], in addition to the 260 Sf due in consequence of the non attendance of preliminary hearing of 22 September 2005.

On these grounds,

PRONOUNCES

1. [Buyer] has to pay 11,184.20 Sf to [Seller's assignee], with interest at the rate of 3.29% from 9 May 2003 until 31 December 2003, of 2.27% from 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2004, of 2.05% from 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2005 and of 2.11% from 1 January 2006.

2. The objection filed against the summons to pay in the debt collection procedure no. 336419 at the Office des Poursuites in Monthey is definitely dismissed; the debt is acknowledged to amount to 11,184.20 Sf plus interest at the rate of 3.29% from 9 May 2003 until 31 December 2003, of 2.27% from 1 January 2004 until 31 December 2004, of 2.05% from 1 January 2005 until 31 December 2005 and of 2.11% from 1 January 2006.

3. The legal charges of 900 Sf have to be borne by [Buyer].

4. [Buyer] has to pay a compensation of 1200 Sf in expenses to [Seller's assignee], in addition to the 260 Sf due in consequence of the non attendance at the preliminary hearing from 22 September 2005.

As judged in Sion on 23 May 2006.

IN THE NAME OF THE TRIBUNAL CANTONAL

THE PRESIDENT and THE CLERK ad hoc

[...]


FOOTNOTES

* All translations should be verified by cross-checking against the original text. For purposes of this translation, Plaintiff is referred to as [Seller's assignee] and Defendant is referred to as [Buyer].

Translator's notes: ATF = Recueil officiel des Arrêts du Tribunal fédéral [Official collection of the decisions of the Tribunal federal (Supreme Court)]; CO = Code des Obligations [Swiss tort and contract law]; consid. = considérant [motivation for the decision, refers to the paragraph in the cited decision]; CPC = Code de procédure civile [Swiss code of civil procedure of the Canton Valais]; FJS = Fiches juridiques suisses [Swiss law journal]; Journal officiel = Official journal of the French Republic; LDIP = Loi fédérale sur le droit international privé [Federal law on private international law]; Ltar = Loi valaisanne fixant le tarif des frais et dépens devant les autorités ou administratives du 14 mai 1998 [Law of the canton Valais fixing the rate of cots and expenses before judicial and administrative authorities]; mit allen Rechten und Nebenrechten gemäss Art. 164 ff OR = with all rights and ancillary rights according to Art. 164 et seq.OR; Office des Poursuites = Swiss administrative authority responsible for debt collection procedures; OJ = Loi fédérale d'organisation judiciare [Federal law on the rules of the courts];OR = Obligationenrecht [Swiss tort and contract law]; RSDIE = Revue suisse d droit international et européen [Swiss journal for international and European law]; RVJ = Revue valaisanne de jurisprudence [Swiss law journal].

** Nathalie Hofmann is a law student at Humboldt University Berlin studying at the University of Geneva in the "Certificat du droit transnational" program during the academic year 2007-2008 and member of the Geneva team at the 15th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

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