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2008 UNCITRAL Digest of case law on the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods

Digest of Article 13 case law [reproduced with permission of UNCITRAL] [*]

Article 13

For the purposes of this Convention "writing" includes telegram and telex.

OVERVIEW

1. The purpose of article 13 of the Convention, which is based on article 1(3)(g) of the 1974 UNCITRAL Convention on the Limitation Period in the International Sale of Goods, is to ensure that communications taking the form of a telegram or telex are treated as writings, and thus (in their form) can satisfy applicable writing requirements if such exist.

Application

2. The provision has rarely been referred to in case law. One court, in deciding whether avoidance of a lease contract via telefax met a writing requirement in applicable domestic law, stated that, had the Convention governed, the telefax would be considered sufficient on the basis of article 13; but the court also held that article 13 applied only to international sales contracts, and should not be extended by analogy to leases or other non-sales contracts.[1] The same court later reaffirmed its view that article 13 should not be applied by analogy, reasoning that the provision contains an exception and that exceptions must be interpreted restrictively.[2]


NOTES

* 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_second_edition.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.

In addition, this presentation introduces each section of the UNCITRAL Digest with a Google search button. This is to help you access doctrine (relevant material from the over 1,200 commentaries, monographs and books on the CISG and related subjects that we present on this database) as well as the texts of the cases that UNCITRAL cites in its Digests and that we present in our updates to UNCITRAL's Digests.

1. See [AUSTRIA Oberster Gerichtshof 2 July 1993 (Domestic lease case)].

2. [AUSTRIA Oberster Gerichtshof 26 April 1997].


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