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

Digest of Article 20 case law [reproduced with permission of UNCITRAL]

Article 20

(1) A period of time for acceptance fixed by the offeror in a telegram or a letter begins to run from the moment the telegram is handed in for dispatch or from the date shown on the letter or, if no such date is shown, from the date shown on the envelope. A period of time for acceptance fixed by the offeror by telephone, telex or other means of instantaneous communication, begins to run from the moment that the offer reaches the offeree.
(2) Official holidays or non-business days occurring during the period for acceptance are included in calculating the period. However, if a notice of acceptance cannot be delivered at the address of the offeror on the last day of the period because that day falls on an official holiday or a non-business day at the place of business of the offeror, the period is extended until the first business day which follows.

OVERVIEW

1. Article 20 sets out rules for calculating the time in which an offeree must accept an offer.

2. Paragraph (1) defines when a time period for acceptance begins to run. The paragraph distinguishes between communications that involve a delay between dispatch and receipt (sentence 1) and instantaneous communications (sentence 2). There are no reported cases applying this paragraph.

3. Paragraph (2) addresses the effect of official holidays and non-business days on the calculation of the time period. There are no reported cases applying this paragraph.

[See also the overview comments UNCITRAL has prepared to introduce all of the Formation provisions of the CISG (articles 14 through 24). They discuss the following subjects: Permitted Reservations by Contracting States, Exclusivity of Part II, Validity of Contract, Formal Requirements, Incorporating Standard Terms, and Commercial Letters of Confirmation.]


©Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated June 9, 2009
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