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Introduction to the Country Case Schedule

"Uniform law requires . . . a new common law" in which "[f]oreign precedents would not be precedents of a foreign law but of uniform law" (Antonio Boggiano [Argentina], note 1). Governmental legislation sets in place uniform law, but "[i]n reality, uniform law is not the work of governmental legislation. It is a creation of jurists, a kind of jurisconsultorium" (Gino Gorla [Italy], note 2). "[C]ourts . . . have to develop their jurisprudence in company with the courts of other countries from case to case" (Lord Scarman [United Kingdom], note 3).

Interpretations of an international convention by sister signatories are entitled to considerable weight (Air France v. Saks [United States], note 4); they are to be taken into account:

"To be able to take account of decisions from other countries one has first to be aware of them" (Leif Sevón [Finland], note 6). The goal of the CISG W3 Country Case Schedule and the companion CISG Case Search Form is to assist in the prolific interaction of judicial and arbitral rulings on the Uniform Law.

Case law (jurisprudence) is one of several aids to interpretation (see note 7, The Comparative Precedent Project, 1992-97, for illustrative comments on precedent as "a major form of law recognized in one way or another" in common law and civil law legal systems). Uniform Law doctrine (scholarly writings) and legislative history (travaux préparatoires) should also be considered:

We do not have a World Supreme Court of Uniform Law (see Louis B. Sohn [United States], note 8) empowered to hand down stare decisis rulings on the CISG (for other proposals advanced -- a supernational "editorial board" or a global council of "wise men" to turn to for interpretive questions -- see Michael Joachim Bonell [Italy], note 9 and Ulrich Drobnig [Germany], note 10).

It makes sense to set in place "channels for the collection and sharing of judicial decisions and bibliographic material". "The development of a homogenous body of law under the Convention depends on [this] so that experience in each country can be evaluated and followed or rejected in other jurisdictions" (John O. Honnold [United States], note 11). "There is a need for an international clearing-house to collect and disseminate experience on the Convention" (note 12). The CISG W3 database was created to help respond to this need. The intent of the case law segments of the database is to have "[w]hatever a national court [or an arbitral tribunal] decides become internationally known . . . to add to the body of experience on the Convention" (Ralph Amissah [Ghana/Norway], note 13). The medium of the presentations is the computer, the Internet, the World-Wide Web.

Albert H. Kritzer


FOOTNOTES

1. Antonio Boggiano, "The Experience of Latin American States", in: International Uniform Law in Practice/Le droit uniform international dans la pratique [Acts and Proceedings of the 3rd Congress on Private Law held by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Rome 7-10 September 1997)], Oceana: New York (1988) 47.

2. Gino Gorla, Observations, in: International Uniform Law in Practice, supra note 1 at 304.

3. Lord Scarman, 2 All E.R. (1980) 696, 715. Sevón elaborates: A judge ought to be "obliged to search for and to take into consideration foreign judgments and doctrine, at least the judgments from other Contracting States, when he is faced with a problem of interpretation of an international convention". Leif Sevón, Observations, in: International Uniform Law in Practice, supra note 1 at 135.

4. Air France v. Saks, 470 U.S. (1985) 392, 404.

5. Jürgen Schwarze, "The Role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Interpretation of Uniform Law among the Member States of the European Communities", in: International Uniform Law in Practice, supra note 1 at 221.

6. Sevón, supra note 3. In the same vein, "Proper reporting of decisions [is an] essential prerequisite for the proper working [of the rule of precedent]". René David, "The Legal Systems of the world, in: International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (Martinus NijHoff, The Hague 1984) 133

7. Robert S. Summers, "The Comparative Precedent Project, 1992-97", in: Cornell Law Forum (July 1997) 17-20, a review of a new text, Interpreting Precedents - A Comparative Study, to be published by Dartmouth Press in the summer of 1997 ; see also René David, supra note 3 at 111-137. For comments on challenges associated with "the transmutation of an interpreted norm from precedent to pending case", see Vivian G. Curran, "The Interpretive Challenge to Uniformity", 15 Journal of Law and Commerce (1995) 175 [review of Claude Witz, "Les Premières applications jurisprudentielles du droit uniforme de la vente internationale" (LGDJ Paris 1995)].

8. Louis B. Sohn, "Proposals for an International Tribunal to Interpret Uniform Legal Texts", in: Uniform Commercial Law in the Twenty-First Century: Proceedings of the Congress of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, 18-22 May 1992, New York: United Nations. A/CN. 9/SER. D/1, Sales No. 94 V. 14 (1995) 50-54.

9. Michael Joachim Bonell, "A Proposal for the Establishment of a Permanent Editorial Board for the Vienna Sales Convention", in: International Uniform Law in Practice, supra note 1 at 241-244. For comments on consideration of this proposal by UNCITRAL, see Spiros V. Bazinas, "Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts", in: Emptio - Venditio inter Nationes: Convention de Vienne sur la vente internationale de marchandises/The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)/Wiener Übereinkommen betreffend Verträge über den internationalen Warenkauf, Neumayer ed., (Basel 1997) 198.

10. Ulrich Drobnig, Observations, in: International Uniform Law in Practice, supra note 1 at 306.

11. John O. Honnold, "Uniform Words and Uniform Application. The 1980 Sales Convention and International Juridical Practice", in: Einheitliches Kaufrecht und nationales Obligationenrecht (Baden-Baden 1987) 127-128.

12. Id. at 128.

13. Ralph Amissah, "On the Net and the liberation of information that wants to be free", in: Fra institutt til facultet: Jubileumsskrift i anledning av at IRV ved Universitetet i Tromsø feirer 10 år og er blitt til Det juridiske facultet, Skoghøy ed. (Tromsø 20 February 1997) 70.


Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law - August 1997
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