Analysis of ‘impediment’ in the UN’s CISG

By Liao Ming

The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is considered a combination of different legal systems. An “impediment” in article 79, which is in its nature a force majeure provision, can be employed to relieve a non-performing party from liability.

In the absence of an official interpretation to the CISG, a case reporting system has been established to assist relevant stakeholders by making decisions of courts and arbitral tribunals interpreting the CISG available on the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) website. The available cases involving application of article 79 show a quite low acceptance rate from 1995 to 2018, with only six of the 39 vendor claims having been supported, and the number for the 20 buyer claims being five. The “impediment” is not applicable when:

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Liao Ming is an arbitrator of Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BAC/BIAC) and a partner at Tahota Law Firm. BAC/BIAC case manager Jolie Guo also contributed to the article.


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