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Cite as Evans, in Bianca-Bonell Commentary on the International Sales Law, Giuffrè: Milan (1987) 664-665. Reproduced with permission of Dott. A Giuffrè Editore, S.p.A.

Article 98

Malcolm Evans

1. History of the provision
2. Meaning and purpose of the provision

ARTICLE 98

No reservations are permitted except those expressly authorized in this Convention.

1. History of the provision

     1.1. - Precedents for this article are to be found in a number of international agreements and in particular in Article 39 of the Limitation Convention. The insertion of the provision was proposed in the Second Committee of the Vienna Conference at which it was adopted without opposition (Official Records, II, 458-459).

2. Meaning and purpose of the provision

     2.1. - The intention of the provision is to prevent States excluding the application of the Convention by making declarations containing reservations other than those specifically provided for in Articles 92 to 96. Although some doubts were voiced as to whether an express statement of the rule was necessary as it might be considered to be implicit in the Convention (Official Records, II, 459), its presence certainly excludes any ambiguity which might otherwise exist in the light of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Treaties which permits the formulation of reservations unless:

(a) the reservation is prohibited by the treaty;

(b) the treaty provides that only specific reservations, which do not include the reservation in question, may be made; or

(c) in cases not falling under sub-paragraphs (a) and (b), the reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty.

     2.2. - The effect of Article 98 is to bring the Convention squarely within the ambit of Article 19(b) of the United Nations [page 664] Convention on the Law of Treaties and thus avoids the possibility of States making further reservations of the kind contemplated by Article 19(c) which are not «incompatible with the object and purpose of the treaty». Any such purported reservation by a Contracting State to the Convention must therefore be deemed ineffective.

     2.3. - Article 96 enjoys the distinction of being the shortest article in the Convention and as indicated above leaves no room for doubt as to whether Contracting States may make any reservations other than those expressly provided for in Articles 92 to 96. It is, however, apparent from the discussion at the Vienna Conference (Official Records, II, 459), that the provision does not prevent States making declarations in general at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession which do not have the effect of reservations. [page 665]


Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated February 11, 2005
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