The CISG-online platform is a project developed and maintained by Professor Dr. Ulrich G. Schroeter and his team at the Faculty of Law of the University of Basel (Switzerland). It receives valuable support from a group of international contributors.
CISG-online is a pro bono project for the benefit of the global community of commercial lawyers. It is accessible free of charge. No registration is required.
Collecting information about the 1980 Sales Convention's interpretation and application throughout the world
The CISG-online platform's first purpose is to facilitate an internationally uniform interpretation and application of the 1980 Sales Convention by collecting useful information that enable courts and arbitral tribunals to achieve such uniformity.
As is well known, Art. 7(1) CISG stipulates that in the Sales Convention's interpretation "regard is to be had to its international character and to the need to promote uniformity in its application". This goal is not easy to implement, given that the CISG is being applied and written about in many countries around the world in various languages. In practical terms, it can at the outset be a significant challenge to track down the internationally available information that is helpful to argue or decide a particular CISG case or question.
CISG-online tries to make this task easier by making available as much helpful information as possible in one place. The core part of this information is our ever-growing collection of international CISG case law, consisting of court decisions from various jurisdictions as well as arbitral awards. We furthermore collect information about the Sales Convention's implementation and application in different juridictions, about its legislative history (travaux préparatoires) and about legal writings on the CISG aimed at scholars and practitioners (in our CISG Bibliography).
Tracking the Sales Convention's impact on the interpretation of other (non-CISG) rules of law
In addition, CISG-online also includes court decisions that do not apply the Sales Convention to international sales contracts that fall into the Convention's scope, but rather refer to provisions of the CISG as guidance in interpreting other provisions of domestic law or international law. Such an 'indirect' use of the Sales Convention has become more and more common in recent years; it signals the Convention's role as a state-of-the-art model of a modern regulation of sales law and general contract law issues.
Within CISG-online, court decisions of this type are marked as follows:
- In the decision's case presentation, the category "CISG applicable" reads "No – the present decision merely refers to the CISG in interpreting other rules of law"
- In our CISG Article by Article section, the Convention's provisions that have been referred to in this manner contain a sub-section "Impact of Art. [...] on the interpretation of non-CISG provisions" that lists such decisions.
Collecting information about cross-border commercial practice as mirrored in international CISG case law
The CISG-online's second purpose goes beyond the Sales Convention's interpretation by focusing on cross-border commercial practice in the area of international sales.
We therefore also collect other pertinent factual and legal aspects of international commercial transactions as they are reflected in CISG case law, from the type of goods, the means of the goods' shipment, the contractual currency and the payment mechanisms used to INCOTERMs, industry-specific standard terms (GAFTA, ORGALIME etc.), choice-of-law clauses and dispute resolution clauses included in cross-border sales contract.
Much of this information is not yet shown in our case presentations, because it takes significant time to collect these pieces of information from case texts written in a range of different languages. It will be made available at an appropriate point in time.
"Full case history" approach
In order to comprehensively capture the factual scenarions involved and legal issues arising in disputes over CISG transactions, CISG-online includes each court decision that has been rendered throughout a given CISG dispute. In other words, we do not only include those CISG decisions that contain "interesting" statements about the Sales Convention's Interpretation and have therefore been selected for publication in law reports or journals. This notably means that we also list the decisions by trial courts (courts of first instance), even though we often do not (or not yet) have the full text of those decisions. Not infrequently, we obtain access to their full text at a later point in time.
An exception to our "full case history" approach applies in case of those decisions that merely refer to the CISG when interpreting other rules of law, domestic or international: As such decisions do not arise out of CISG transactions, we only list the decision that contains such a CISG reference, but not any other decision belonging to its case history.
CISG-online.org and CISG-online.ch: Two addresses for the same website
The current CISG-online platform was launched in its beta-version in August 2020; since then, it has been accessible via the website address (Uniform Resource Locator, URL) www.cisg-online.org.
Until December 2021, the URL www.cisg-online.ch continued to connect to the old CISG-online website, although this old website had not been updated since February 2018. Since December 2021, also the address www.cisg-online.ch is connecting to our current platform.
It should be noted that CISG-online.org uses the same CISG-online numbers that were used for CISG decisions in the old CISG-online.ch database; preexisting references to CISG-online numbers therefore do not need to be updated. A limited exception applies to a few CISG decisions that had inadvertently been listed twice in the old database; in such instances, one of the database entries was deleted.
CISG-online as a regular point of reference in international case law applying the Sales Convention
Sources of information about CISG decisions relied upon by CISG-online
The information on CISG decisions presented in CISG-online come from a variety of sources. Most are taken from publicly accessible databases in the respective jurisdictions; others were kindly made available by our International Contributors. A yet different group of case texts were sent to us by lawyers involved in the respective dispute resolution proceeding (judges or counsel for one of the parties); were are particularly grateful for such texts that otherwise would often not be published, and continue to welcome any such texts under firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use of UNCITRAL documents by CISG-online