1952–1962 Special Commission

The CISG as adopted in 1980 and in force today owes much of its content to earlier preparatory work conducted under the auspices of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) since the 1930s. At UNIDROIT, a committee was formed to work on the unification of international sales law, which consisted of Ernst Rabel from Germany, Cecil J.B. Hurst and H. C. Gutteridge from England, Henri Capitant and Josef Hamel from France, Algot Bagge and Martin Fehr from Sweden, and Hans Ficker as secretary. 

World War II halted the work on the unification, and efforts only resumed in 1951 when UNIDROIT suggested that the Dutch government invite States to participate in a diplomatic conference in The Hague. Between the 1 and 10 November 1951, delegates of 20 States met and discussed the unification project at a Conference at The Hague based on the draft(s) produced at UNIDROIT. To further develop the draft of a uniform sales law, it was decided there and then that a Special Commission should be initiated consisting of Vittorio AngeloniAlgot BaggeFéderico De Castro y BravoL. FrédéricoMax GutzwillerJoseph HamelE.M. MeijersMassimo PilottiErnst Rabel, Otto RieseHenry Ussing, and B.A. Wortley

This Special Commission produced the drafts of 1956 and of 1963, which formed the basis for the negotiation of the Uniform Law on the International Sale of Goods (commonly abbreviated as 'ULIS') of 1964. It produced these drafts in eight meetings between 1952 and 1962. For each of these meetings, the discussions have been minuted:

  1. 1st meeting of the Special Commission in April 1952 in Rome, No. 33
  2. 2nd meeting of the Special Commission in July 1952 in The Hague, No. 218
  3. 3rd meeting of the Special Commission in April 1953 in Nice, No. 403 Doc. No. 98
  4. 4th meeting of the Special Commission in April 1954 in Rome, No. 628, Doc. No. 146
  5. 5th meeting of the Special Commission in September and October 1954 in Lugano, No. 831, Doc. No. 179 (including a Rapport by Gutzwiller)
  6. 6th meeting of the Special Commission in March 1956 in Rome, No. 1101, Doc. No. 217
  7. 7th meeting of the Special Commission in April 1962 in Rome, No. 1563, Doc. No. 227
  8. 8th meeting of the Special Comission in October 1962 in Paris, No. 1729, Doc. No. 270