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2012 UNCITRAL Digest of case law on the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods

Digest of Article 91 case law [reproduced with permission of UNCITRAL] [*]

Article 91

(1) This Convention is open for signature at the concluding meeting of the United Nations Conference on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and will remain open for signature by all States at the Headquarters of the United Nations, New York until 30 September 1981.

(2) This Convention is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by the signatory states.

(3) This Convention is open for accession by all States which are not signatory States as from the date it is open for signature.

(4) Instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval and accession are to be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


1. The Convention was opened for signature at the concluding meeting of the United Nations Conference on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods held in Vienna from 10 March to 11 April 1980, and remained open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York until 30 September 1981. Under article 91(2) all states that signed the Convention were able to ratify, accept or approve it. Only after acceptance, ratification or approval does a State become a Contracting State. By 30 September 1981, 18 States signed the Convention.[1] All of the signatory States, except Ghana and Venezuela, subsequently ratified, accepted or approved the Convention.

2. Article 91(3) grants the right to all States that are not signatory states to accede to the Convention.[2] Ratification, acceptance, approval and accession have the same effect under the Convention. Many more States beyond the original signatories have acceded to the Convention.[3]

3. Article 91(4) is self-explanatory. Obligations and functions of the depositary are performed by: Depositary Functions of the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations, New York, NY 10017. See also the discussion of the depositary's functions and obligations in the Digest for article 89.

4. Court decisions referring to article 91 are extremely rare.[4]


* This presentation of the UNCITRAL Digest is a slightly modified version of the original UNCITRAL text at <http://www.uncitral.org/pdf/english/clout/CISG-digest-2012-e.pdf>. The following modifications were made by the Institute of International Commercial Law of the Pace University School of Law:

   -    To enhance access to contents by computer search engines, we present in html rather than pdf;
   -    To facilitate direct focus on aspects of the Digests of most immediate interest, we inserted linked tables of contents at the outset of most presentations;
   -    To support UNCITRAL's recommendation to read more on the cases reported in the Digests, we provide mouse-click access to (i) CLOUT abstracts published by UNCITRAL (and to UNILEX case abstracts and other case abstracts); and also (ii) to full-text English translations of cases with links to original texts of cases, where available, in [bracketed citations] that we have added to UNCITRAL's footnotes; and
   -    To enable researchers to themselves keep the case citations provided in the Digests constantly current, we have created a series of tandem documents, UNCITRAL Digest Cases + Added Cases. The new cases and other cases that are cited in these updates are coded in accordance with UNCITRAL's Thesaurus.

1. The 18 Signatory States are: Austria, Chile, People's Republic of China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Lesotho, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, United States of America and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of). The Convention was also signed by three additional states which no longer exist: the former German Democratic Republic signed the Convention on 13 August 1981 and ratified on 23 February 1989, with the Convention entering into force for the former German Democratic Republic on 1 March 1990; the former Czechoslovakia signed the Convention on 1 September 1981 and deposited an instrument of ratification on 5 March 1990, with the Convention entering force for the former Czechoslovakia on 1 April 1991; the former Yugoslavia signed and ratified the Convention on 11 April 1980 and 27 March 1985, respectively, with the Convention entering into force for the former Yugoslavia on 1 April 1986.

2. Non-member States may accede to the Conventions as well. See Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article 6.

3. For a list of Contracting States on the Internet, see the website for the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) at <http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/sale_goods/1980CISG_status.html>.

4. For a decision that cites article 91 (4), see CLOUT case No. 170 [GERMANY Landgericht Trier 12 October 1995]. For a decision for which article 91 appears relevant, see [SLOVENIA Higher Court in Koper 4 May 1993].

©Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated July 31, 2012
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