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2012 UNCITRAL Digest of case law on the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods

Digest of Article 15 case law [reproduced with permission of UNCITRAL] [*]

Article 15

(1) An offer becomes effective when it reaches the offeree.

(2) An offer, even if it is irrevocable, may be withdrawn if the withdrawal reaches the offeree before or at the same time as the offer.


1. Paragraph (1) of article 15 provides that an offer becomes effective when it reaches the offeree. Article 24 defines when a revocation "reaches" the offeree. Although paragraph (1) has been cited,[1] no reported decision has interpreted it.


2. Paragraph (2) provides that an offeror may withdraw its offer if the withdrawal reaches the offeree before or at the same time as the offer. After the offer reaches the offeree, the offeror may no longer withdraw the offer, but may be entitled to revoke the offer in accordance with article 16. There are no reported cases applying paragraph (2).


* This presentation of the UNCITRAL Digest is a slightly modified version of the original UNCITRAL text at <http://www.uncitral.org/pdf/english/clout/CISG-digest-2012-e.pdf>. The following modifications were made by the Institute of International Commercial Law of the Pace University School of Law:

   -    To enhance access to contents by computer search engines, we present in html rather than pdf;
   -    To facilitate direct focus on aspects of the Digests of most immediate interest, we inserted linked tables of contents at the outset of most presentations;
   -    To support UNCITRAL's recommendation to read more on the cases reported in the Digests, we provide mouse-click access to (i) CLOUT abstracts published by UNCITRAL (and to UNILEX case abstracts and other case abstracts); and also (ii) to full-text English translations of cases with links to original texts of cases, where available, in [bracketed citations] that we have added to UNCITRAL's footnotes; and
   -    To enable researchers to themselves keep the case citations provided in the Digests constantly current, we have created a series of tandem documents, UNCITRAL Digest Cases + Added Cases. The new cases and other cases that are cited in these updates are coded in accordance with UNCITRAL's Thesaurus.

1. CLOUT Case No. 430 [GERMANY Oberlandesgericht München 3 December 1999], (citing articles 14, 15(1), 18 and 23); CLOUT case No. 308 [AUSTRALIA Federal Court of Australia, 28 April 1995], excerpt available (citing articles 8, 11, 15(1), 18(1) and 29(1) when holding that parties had concluded contract with a retention of title clause). The following decisions cite article 15 in general, but because they do not involve withdrawal of an offer -- the issue addressed in article 15(2) -- the citations effectively refer to paragraph (1) of article 15: CLOUT case No. 318 [GERMANY Oberlandesgericht Celle 2 September 1998] (citing articles 14, 15 and 18 when finding that parties had concluded a contract); [GERMANY Landgericht Oldenburg 28 February 1996] (citing articles 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19); CLOUT case No. 291 [GERMANY Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt a.M. 23 May 1995] (citing articles 14, 15, 18 (3), 19(1) and (3)) (see full text of the decision); [GERMANY Landgericht Krefeld 24 November 1992] (citing articles 15 and 18).

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