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Czech Republic

Effective date: 1 January 1993

Declarations and reservations

Historical note: The Convention had entered in effect in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic on 1 April 1991.

Pursuant to Article 95, when it ratified the Convention in 1990 the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic declared that it shall not consider itself bound by the provision of Article 1, paragraph 1, item (b) of the Convention.

Comments: This was an authorized Article 95 declaration. It restricts the role of private international law in determining the applicability of the CISG when both contracting parties do not have their relevant places of business in Contracting States. See the Cross-reference editorial analysis of Article 1 for further discussion of this subject.


The right of any country to file an Article 95 declaration came about at the 1980 Diplomatic Conference on the CISG in response to a request of delegates from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. The background was as follows:

"Mr. KOPAC (Czechoslovakia), introducing his delegation's proposal for a new article C bis (A/CONF.97/L.4), recalled that, under paragraph 1(b) of its article 1, the Convention applied to contracts for the sale of goods between parties having their places of business in different countries when rules of private international law 'lead to the application of the law of a Contracting State'. That provision would not give rise to any problem for countries where the ordinary rules of law merchant applied to international transactions.

"An entirely different situation arose, however, in countries like his own or the German Democratic Republic where special legislation had been enacted to govern transactions pertaining to international trade. Similar legislation was under preparation in Poland and Romania. For countries with such a system, the rule in paragraph 1(b) would mean the exclusion of whole areas of the special legislation enacted to govern international trade transactions.

"The net result was that countries like Czechoslovakia would be unable to ratify the Convention be cause of the effect which article 1 (1)(b) would have on the application of their special legislation on international trade.

"The only solution for those countries was to limit the application of the Convention to contracts concluded between parties having their places of business in different Contracting States. In that manner, the rules of the special code on international trade would continue to apply to trade transactions involving parties of which one at least did not have its place of business in a Contracting State" (Official Records, page 229, paras. 29-32).

Current status

On 30 September 1993 the Czech Republic deposited with the United Nations an instrument of succession, with effect from 1 January 1993, the date of succession of this State and of the Slovak Republic.

Comments: Circumstances have changed regarding special East European legislation to govern international trade transactions, and Enderlein attaches significance to the fact that "The Czech and Slovak Republics in their declarations of succession have not confirmed the old reservation" (Fritz Enderlein, "Vienna Convention and Eastern European Lawyers", IBA International Sales Quarterly, June, 1997, 12).

A question may nevertheless be raised whether a declaration of "succession" filed without specific deletion of a reservation set in place by the succeeded country perpetuates the prior reservation or renders that reservation no longer effective.

Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - Last updated August 18, 1999