The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is the uniform international sales law of countries that account for two-thirds of all world trade. As a service to the world trade community, the Pace University School of Law offers an annotated electronic library on the CISG on the world-wide web. The Internet address of the site is "http://www.cisg.law.pace.edu".
We present a guide to the contents of this website. Underlined items in this guide identify website links. A new section, "Guides for Business Managers and Counsel," is being added to the site. It alerts counsel to new developments and contains tips for practitioners. It has been authored for the Pace website by John P. McMahon, Chair of the International Sales Committee of the International Law and Practice Section of the New York State Bar Association.
Guide to the Pace Annotated Electronic Library on the CISG
The challenge to CISG researchers is not a shortage of materials on the subject; far more has been written on the CISG than on any other new sales law. The challenges are locating the material you need (many law libraries do not have an extensive collection of CISG material) and getting to it expeditiously. The website helps on both counts.
The website has been referred to as "a promising source" for "persuasive authority from courts of other States party to the CISG." MCC-Marble Ceramic Center, Inc. v. Ceramica Nuova D'Agostina, S.P.A., 144 F.3d 1384 n.14 (11th Cir. 1998).
The site is averaging 100,000 Internet "hits" per month by persons from 125 countries.
- Begin with the Text of the treaty. If the CISG is new to you, proceed to the section of the database entitled, Introductions to the CISG. It contains primers on the CISG for persons of common law and civil law backgrounds.
A fundamental rule
- "In the interpretation of this Convention, regard is to be had to its international character and to the need to promote uniformity in its application." Article 7(1) CISG.
Case law, scholarly writings and legislative history
- Case law (jurisprudence) , scholarly writings (doctrine), and legislative history (travaux préparatoires) are aids to interpretation of the CISG. For detailed research, go to the Annotated text of the CISG. For each article, the annotated text contains links to material on its legislative history, scholarly writings, and case law. The website provides an outline of each article of the CISG, in many cases backed by a "book" of material on the subjects it addresses.
- Each outline begins with a guide to the article. The Secretariat Commentary is highlighted as it is the closest available counterpart to an official commentary on the CISG. Under the legislative history sections of the annotated texts, the highlighted entry is a Chronology of the development of the article at the 1980 Vienna Diplomatic Conference, the conference at which the final text of the CISG was promulgated. Other sections of the annotated texts contain "buttons" that take you to case presentations, "buttons" that lead to citations to doctrine on the CISG and, in many instances, full texts of scholarly writings on this Convention. The website also contains words and phrases annotations, cross-reference editorial analyses, links to related articles, and other relevant material.
For further legislative history research, go to the legislative history sections of the annotated articles and to the section of the database entitled Diplomatic Conference texts and to the Diplomatic Conference search form. For further access to scholarly writings on subjects of interest, go to the Bibliography and to its Search form. Over 3,000 bibliography citations are presented. For further case law research, go to the Schedule of cases by country and Search form for cases of interest. Over 600 CISG cases are presented. Pace also has initiated a case translation program. For data on the status of this program, go to full English texts of cases. The Case presentation format is: Case identification; Case abstract; Classification of issues present; Editorial remarks; Citations to other material on the case; Case text (including English translation where available); Case commentaries.
The database identifies the countries that have adopted the CISG with effective dates and reservations where they apply. Texts of antecedent uniform laws and Links to other international trade law databases are provided. You may also go to the website collection of Full-texts of scholarly writings on the CISG and the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts.