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CISG article 39

Legislative history guidance provided: short form


Article 39 citations contained in the Official Records of the Vienna Conference: Official Records of the United Nations Conference on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, Vienna 10 March - 11 April 1980, (hereinafter "Official Records") A/CONF. 97/19 pp. 107-108, 208, 320-324, 345-350, 427. These documents are reprinted in Honnold, "Documentary History of the Uniform Law for International Sales" (Kluwer 1989) (hereinafter "Documentary History") pp. 679-680, 743, 541-545, 566-571, 648. For electronic access to this material, go to Chronology of development of Article 39 at the 1980 Vienna Diplomatic Conference.


Text of relevant Secretariat Commentary and caveats associated with its use: The Secretariat Commentary is on the 1978 Draft of the CISG, not the Official Text of this Convention. Prior to citing it, one should verify that the article of the 1978 Draft considered by the UNCITRAL Secretariat is substantively the same as its CISG counterpart. This is generally the case but it is not always so. See Article 39: 1978 Draft/Official Text, for a match-up of this article of the 1978 Draft with the Official Text of the CISG. The match-up is accompanied by editorial comments prepared for this presentation.

Accessing the Secretariat Commentary: The text of the Secretariat Commentary is presented in the Official Records of the Vienna Diplomatic Conference at Official Records, pp. 14-66. A photo-offset copy of this text is contained in Honnold's Documentary History, pp. 404-456. For electronic access to the Secretariat Commentary applicable to this article, see Legislative history of CISG article 33: Secretariat Commentary.


Article 39 citations to the UNCITRAL legislative history prior to the Vienna Conference: UNCITRAL Yearbooks I (1968-1970), III (1972), IV (1973), VI (1975) and VIII (1977); see Honnold, Documentary History, pp. 19, 32-33, 40, 98, 104, 124-126, 144-145, 224-226, 238, 246-247, 318, 329, 332-333. For libraries that have the Yearbooks but not the Documentary History, see cross reference to the applicable Yearbook citations.

New Development: UNCITRAL has entered on the Internet all of the cited Yearbooks. Go to <http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/publications/yearbook.html>


An aid to determining whether interpretations of antecedents to the CISG can be relevant to the interpretation of this article: See Article 39: ULIS-ULF/CISG, for match-up of ULF and ULIS provisions with this article of the CISG. Citations to antecedents contained in the Secretariat Commentary are the primary guide to this match-up of antecedents. European commentators, particularly from Germany and the Netherlands, frequently refer to such ULIS and ULF antecedents of the CISG.

Caveat: Even where counterpart provisions appear similar or virtually identical, a further verification is necessary prior to applying ULIS/ULF concepts to the CISG. Each provision of each uniform law must be evaluated in its own context, in the setting of the uniform law in which it is contained. For this purpose, see full text of CISG, full text of ULIS and full text of ULF.

An additional precedent: The Secretariat Commentary cites as an additional precedent for this article, the Convention on the Limitation Period in the International Sale of Goods (Prescription Convention), articles 8 and 10(2).


Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated May 3, 2007
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