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Published in J. Herbots editor / R. Blanpain general editor, International
Encyclopaedia of Laws - Contracts, Suppl. 29 (December 2000) 1-192. Reproduced with permission of the publisher Kluwer Law International, The Hague.
[For more current case annotated texts by this author, see Bernstein & Lookofsky, Understanding the CISG in Europe, 2d ed. (2003) and Lookofsky, Understanding the CISG in the USA, 2d ed. (2004).]
The 1980 United Nations Convention on Contracts
for the International Sale of Goods
Contracts of Carriage: Documents
159. If the contract involves carriage, the seller will often dispatch the goods on terms
whereby documents controlling their disposition (e.g. a negotiable bill of lading) will not be handed over to the buyer except against payment of the price. Article 34 sets forth certain
supplementary - and hardly controversial - provisions which relate to this situation. These
seemingly superfluous rules were made necessary by reason of the CISG drafting technique. [page 88]
1. Regarding Article 58, see infra No. 243 et seq.
2. Article 34 provides as follows:
'If the seller is bound to hand over documents relating to the goods, he must hand them over at the time
and place and in the form required by the contract If the seller has handed over documents before that
time, he may, up to that time, cure any lack of conformity in the documents, if the exercise of this right
does not cause the buyer unreasonable inconvenience or unreasonable expense. However, the buyer
retains any right to claim damages as provided for in this Convention.'
3. The first sentence of Article 34 confirms the rule in Article 6: see supra No. 70 et seq. Regarding the second
sentence and the cure rule applicable to the goods themselves see infra No. 182 et seq. Regarding the
drafting technique see Honnold, Uniform Law (1999) at p. 250.
Pace Law School
Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated April 4, 2005