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International Legal Research: Harmonization of International Trade

This Guide covers essential print and electronic resources for researching international and foreign law.

Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)

Any lawyer who handles international business transactions will encounter issues involving the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, Apr. 10, 1980, S. Treaty Doc. 98-9, 1489 U.N.T.S. 3, 19 I.L.M. 671 (1980). 

The importance of the CISG is highlighted by the fact that it constitutes the uniform international sales law of countries that account for over three-quarters of all world trade as indicated at the CISG database website hosted by Pace Law School and the Institute of International Commercial Law. Per the UNCITRAL website, there are 76 state parties to the CISG as of July, 2010.

The CISG has universal appeal because it was ratified by civil law and common law countries, developed and developing countries and countries with different languages and cultures. Each country will produce a unique body of case law interpreting the Convention and scholars from all over the world have already commented profusely on it. Practitioners are quite interested in the CISG because they use if for drafting and interpreting a variety of international contracts. Germain, Claire, The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods: Guide to Research and Literature, 24 Int’l. J. Legal Info. 48 (1996)

Pace's CISG database provides access to the treaty text, "legislative" history and case law interpreting provisions of the CISG. It also illustrates the countries that have adopted the CISG and provides information on its status and application.

 

The UNCITRAL website provides access to CISG case law through its CLOUT (Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts) database.


CISG case law is also available in print in UNILEX: international case law & bibliography on the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (Irvington, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers (1996-) K1028.3198.A6 U55 . In addition, Unidroit's UNILEX website provides access to case law on the CISG.  

Unidroit

Unidroit is the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law. Unidroit began as part of the League of Nations and became an official international governmental organization in 1940. Case law interpretting Unidroit's Principles of International Commercial Contracts can also be found via its Unilex website.The Unidroit principles were published in 1994 and are an example of "soft law". A copy of the UNIDROIT Principles is also available in print in the library K7350.A54 I57 2004. Unidroit Conventions and Principles can be found under Unidroit Instruments via the Unidroit website as shown below.

 

 

 

Trans-Lex

The University of Cologne's Center for Transnational Law has created its own Trans-Lex principles derived from commentary (doctrine) and case law.Click on principles to see an outline of the specific principles with links to the following sources: doctrine, arbitral awards, court decisions, national legislation, principles / restatements, international legislation, model laws and model terms.

Incoterms

As mentioned earlier in the International Arbitration tab, ICC box, ICC Incoterms are standard international trade definitions used in international business contracts.

 

Note that the ICC last updated Incoterms in 2019 per its website. Although Incoterms 2020 is the most current edition, Incoterms 2010 is still in effect. Incoterms 2010 is available in print in the Library at K1029.6 .I53 2010, 10th Floor.