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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.


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.


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]


* 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:

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

2. [AUSTRIA Oberster Gerichtshof 26 April 1997].

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