Reproduced with permission from Juridisk Tidskrift (1991/92) 1-28
Peter Schlechtriem [*]
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The provisions on remedies are the backbone of the Uniform Sales Law. In my opinion, the success of the unification depends on the understanding and uniform application of the provisions on remedies. I have to restrict myself to the principles.
The Convention uses three basic remedies:
1. specific performance.
2. damages, and
3. avoidance of the contract.
In addition, there is
4. the suspension of performance as a remedy less severe than avoidance, and finally
5. the reduction of price in case of non-conforming goods.
Generally, each of these remedies, except the reduction of price, is applicable to every breach of obligation regardless of the nature of the obligation breached or the way in which the breach took place. But this general principle is not without exceptions. Furthermore, despite using the conceptual approach of general provisions, the Convention does not regulate these remedies as a part of the general provisions. General provisions about how the avoidance of a contract can be declared and the decisive requirements for breach of contract, can be found only in chapter I of the third part of the Convention. In addition, there is a restriction on the remedy of specific performance in Art. 28. General provisions for the most important remedy of damages can be found, however, in Arts. 74-77 and 79. In addition, the provision for suspension in the case of uncertainty of performance by the other party is to be found in Art. 71, for the avoidance before an obligation has become due (i.e., anticipatory breach) in Art. 72 and for the breach of installment contracts in Art. 73. Other provisions of a more of less general character can be found in chapter V regarding the effect of avoidance, the obligation to preserve the goods (Arts. 85 and 86), the self-help sale (Art. 88) and in particular the restitution of goods or benefits received in case of avoidance.
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* Dr. jur. ord. Professor Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Breisgau, Director of the Institute of Foreign and Private International Law, Freiburg. President of the German Association of Comparative Law. The following article is based on a paper read to the Law Faculty of the University of Stockholm on Jan. 25, 1991. I have added footnotes and some remarks, but in general preserved the text of the oral lecture.
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