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Cite as Evans, in Bianca-Bonell Commentary on the International Sales Law, Giuffrè: Milan (1987) 677-678. Reproduced with permission of Dott. A Giuffrè Editore, S.p.A.

Authentic Text and Witness Clause

Malcolm Evans

1. History of the provision
2. Meaning and purpose of the provision
3. Problems concerning the provision

AUTHENTIC TEXT AND WITNESS CLAUSE

Done at Vienna, this eleventh day of April, one thousand nine hundred and eighty, in a single original, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic.

In witness whereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized by their respective Governments, have signed this Convention.

1. History of the provision

     1.1. - The text of the clause follows the model to be found in the Hamburg Rules, the original version submitted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Vienna Conference (Official Records, I, 70) having been completed to indicate the place at which the Convention was open for signature.

2. Meaning and purpose of the provision

     2.1. - As was the case with the Hamburg Rules, the Convention was drawn up in the six official languages of the General Assembly of the United Nations, all of which are stated to be equally authentic.

3. Problems concerning the provision

     3.1. - Every effort was made at the Vienna Conference to ensure the concordance of the six language versions and it is to be hoped that no discrepancies will be found. Since, however, such a possibility cannot be excluded a priori, it may be recalled that Article 33(4) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Treaties provides that when a comparison of the authentic texts [page 677] discloses a difference of meaning which the application of the general rule of interpretation (Article 31) and supplementary rules of interpretation (Article 32) do not remove, the meaning which best reconciles the texts, having regard to the object and purpose of the treaty, shall be adopted. [page 678]


Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated February 10, 2005
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