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Russia 16 February 1998 High Arbitration Court (or Presidium of Supreme Arbitration Court) of the Russian Federation: Information Letter 29
[Cite as: http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cases/980216r1.html]

Primary source(s) of information for case presentation: Alexandre Mouranov

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Case identification

DATE OF DECISIONS: 19980216 (16 February 1998)

JURISDICTION: Russian Federation


Vysshi Arbitrazhnyi Sud Rossyiskoi Federatsii [High Arbitration Court (or Presidium of Supreme Arbitration Court) of the Russian Federation]

[Russia has two types of State courts for private law disputes: Courts of general jurisdiction (also called "People's Courts") and economic courts (also called "Arbitration Courts"). The above is the official title of the top judicial authority of the Arbitration Courts.]

JUDGES(S): Unavailable

CASE NUMBER/DOCKET NUMBER: Information Letter No. 29

[In his chapter of the Encyclopedia, René David discusses practices of different jurisdictions. For Russia he mentions a tradition of interpretive rulings by the Supreme Court: rulings not handed down to dispose of a specific case, but interpretive rulings on an abstract issue or issues that may have arisen in a case or cases. This Information Letter is an example of this practice. This Information Letter is entitled, "The review of the practice of disputes consideration on the cases with participation of foreign persons."]

CASE NAME: Unavailable

CASE HISTORY: Ruling of Arbitration Court Moscow 15 February 1996 affirmed by High Arbitration Court 25 March 1997

SELLER'S COUNTRY: Bulgaria (claimant)

BUYER'S COUNTRY: Russia (respondent)


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Classification of issues present

APPLICATION OF CISG: Yes [Article 1(1)(a)]


Key CISG provisions at issues: Articles 6 ; 12 ; 29 ; 79 ; 96 [Also relevant: Article 11 ]

Classification of issues using UNCITRAL classification code numbers:

6B [Agreements to apply Convention: choice of Russian law in contract within the scope of the CISG];

12A [Effect of reservation under article 96 rejecting article 11];

29A ; 29B [Modification of contract by agreement: impact of articles 12 and 96];

79B [Impediments excusing party from damages]

Descriptors: Applicability ; Choice of law ; Formal requirements ; Declaration, Art. 96 ; Exemptions or impediments

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Editorial remarks

EDITOR: Alexandre Mouranov

Paragraphs 2, 4 and 7 of Information Letter No. 29 of the Presidium of the High Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation edify in the following respects:

Paragraph 2 (contained in subsection I of the Information Letter: "Issues of applying and interpreting international law norms"). The Presidium explains that the CISG is applicable to the sales contract between a Russion company and a foreign company. The Presidium also elucidates that a contract for the international sale of goods may not be changed by the oral agreement of the parties (made over the telephone) because of the Article 96 reservation filed by the USSR at the time it adopted the CISG.

Paragraph 4. The Presidium approves a judgment of the Arbitration Court by which a Russian buyer was held liable to pay damages to a foreign seller, resulting from the buyer's breach of contract: failure to pay the contract price. The buyer sought to reject the claim stating that the price was already paid. It had actually been paid, but the money was stolen from the foreign bank and the seller did not obtain it. Moreover, a penal prosecution was initiated abroad to investigate into this matter. However, the Arbitration Court, applying Article 79 of the CISG, concluded that the failure of the buyer was not due to an impediment beyond his control. The Presidium concurred with this conclusion.

Paragraph 7 (contained in subsection II of the Information Letter: "Issues of applying conflict of law norms"). The Presidium explains that when a Bulgarian seller and a Russian buyer elect to have their contract governed by Russian law, the CISG is to be applied to the contract.

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Citations to case abstracts, texts, and commentaries


(a) UNCITRAL abstract: Unavailable

(b) Other abstracts

English: Unilex database <http://www.unilex.info/case.cfm?pid=1&do=case&id=365&step=Abstract>


Original language (Russian): Text presented below; published also in Vestnik Vysshego Arbitrazhnogo Suda Rossyiskoi Federatsii (1998) No. 4

Translation: Unavailable


English: Southerington, Impossibility of performance and other excuses in international trade (2001) n.139; Djakhongir Saidov, 7 Vindobona Journal of International Commercial Law and Arbitration (1/2003) 1-62 at nn.157, 173, 231, 255; Larry A. DiMatteo et al., 34 Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business (Winter 2004) 299-440 at n.154 (prohibition of oral modification)

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Case text

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Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated September 17, 2004
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