CISG-online case presentations explained
The following guide to CISG-online's case presentations (currently still under construction) explains the categories used in our case presentations.
The CISG-online number allows the exact identification of a CISG court judgment or arbitral award, since each number is only assigned once. It would, thus, be sufficient to cite only the CISG-online number to refer to a particular judgment, although it is advised to name the court and date additionally.
CISG-online numbers are assigned chronologically whenever a CISG decision is added to the CISG-online database. The number therefore implies nothing about the relevance of the decision or the date it was rendered (in fact, we quite frequently add CISG decisions only years or even decades after they were rendered).
Once a CISG-online number has been assigned, it is never changed.
Whenever a legal dispute yields multiple judgments (including appeal or set-aside proceedings), each judgment is equiped with its own CISG-online number, but we may refer to the totality of all connected judgments in other parts of the website as one "case".
Each decision in the CISG-online database has been given a "Case name". We assign case names not only to decisions from jurisdictions that commonly use case names (as notably Common Law jurisdictions), but also to decisions from jurisdictions were case names are not generally used.
The purpose of our case names is to make references to particular CISG decisions easier. They are in no way "official" in nature.
In choosing each case name, a number of approaches are used:
Parties' names as primary source of case names
Following the custom in Common Law jurisdictions, we primarily rely on the names of the parties to the respective court proceedings or arbitrations in assigning the case name (e.g. Solea International BVBA v. Bassett & Walker International Inc.).
Whenever the court proceedings or arbitrations involve more than one Claimant or/and more than one Respondent, the case name only mentions the first Claimant or/and Respondent, with the addition "et al." (Latin for et alia, "and others"). Example: Ajay Industrial Corp. Ltd. et al. v. Jesey Technical Services Ltd. et al.
Goods sold as secondary source of case names
For the – many – CISG decisions that do not mention the parties' names, the case name is based on the goods that were sold by the international sales contract concerned (e.g. Key press case; Counter-pressure paper case).
Where the facts of the case provide us with this information, the geographic origin of the goods sold may additionally be mentioned (e.g. Dutch coffee grinder case).
As some types of goods are frequently sold in international trade, recourse to the type of goods alone would result in many unrelated CISG decisions having the same case name (e.g. Italian shoes case). We therefore may add numbers (in Roman numerals) to such generic case names in order to keep them distinguishable (e.g. Art paper case II; Italian shoes case XXIV).
Other factors as inspiration for case names
If neither the parties' names nor the goods sold are mentioned in a decision's text, we assign a case name by drawing on either the parties' home countries (e.g. Austrian-Ukrainian sales contract case), on the type of contract concerned (e.g. Exclusive distribution contract case) or on the central legal problem addressed in the decision (e.g. Good faith as general principle of law case).
The "jurisdiction" generally refers to the country to which the deciding body belongs. In cases in which a country has territorial units that operate a distinct legal system in the area of sales law (as for example the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the Macau Special Administrative Region that are both part of the People's Republic of China), these are treated as distinct jurisdictions.
Our reference to jurisdictions pays no attention to, and does not take any position in, pertinent disputes regarding certain territories' status as independent "States".
If the deciding body belongs to a supranational organisation, the latter is referred to as a jurisdiction, despite not being a country (for example the European Union or the Council of Europe).
All arbitral awards are listed under the jurisdiction "Arbitration". This includes arbitral awards that were rendered in institutional arbitrations administered by institutions from a certain country. For example, CIETAC arbitral awards are listed under the jurisdiction "Arbitration" (and not under "China"), as are arbitral awards rendered under the auspices of the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICAC) (not under "Ukraine").
Court or Arbitral Tribunal
The name of the deciding Court or Arbitral Tribunal is displayed in the original (official) language used at its location. (Since we are not proficient in all of these languages, please let us know if we have misspelled a court's original name.) In the brackets following the original name, our translation of the deciding body's name into English is provided.
If you are interested in assessing the position of the respective court in the respective national legal system, you can find out more when you click on the respective country in our listing "CISG by jurisdiction". On the respective jurisdiction' overview page, the navigation contains the subpage "CISG case law from [jurisdiction]". There you will find the courts sorted from the highest to the lowest court in descending order.
In institutional arbitrations, the category "Arbitral Tribunal" refers to the arbitral institution under whose administration the respective arbitration was conducted (for example "ICC International Court of Arbitration").
In all ad hoc arbitrations, the category "Arbitral Tribunal" reads "Ad Hoc Arbitral Tribunal".
Seat of the arbitration
If the CISG decision presented is an arbitral award, this category lists the legal place (or "seat") of an arbitration, whenever that information is available. (Frequently, the information published about arbitral awards does not mention their respective seat.)
The seat of an arbitration should not be confused with the location of the arbitration institution that has administered the arbitration.
Case nr./docket nr.
The systems of numbering court decisions vary widely between different jurisdictions. Our category "case nr./docket nr." includes all types of such numbers as used in the respective judgments, as e.g. case numbers, docket numers, roll numbers, file numbers, appeal numbers (no. de pourvoir) and similar. Where a jurisdiction assigns more than one number to a decision (for example, a roll number and an appeal number), we list both of these numbers in this category in order to better enable users to find the decision.
Neutral citations (e.g. " IEHC 773", "2020 ONSC 2246") that have been introduced in recent years in some (mostly Common Law) jurisdictions are also included in this category.
The docket numbers cited in case presentations of China International Economic & Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) arbitral awards are not original CIETAC case numbers, because CIETAC usually does not make these publicly available. The docket numbers used for CIETAC arbitral awards in CISG-online (example: "CISG/2003/14") are those assigned by the Albert H. Kritzer CISG Database.
The "Claimant" listed in a case is the party that initiated the respective court proceedings in the court of first instance (the trial court), respectively the party that initiated the arbitration proceedings. The description as "Claimant" remains unchanged in the subsequent stages of the same case (e.g. appellate proceedings or court proceedings brought in order to vacate an arbitral award), irrespective of who brought the appeal (the initial Claimant or the Respondent).
Respondent refers to the party that was originally sued (or its legal successor). Consequently, this classification of the parties stays true until the final judgment. Thus, if the Respondent appeals the judgment of the court of first instance, he will still be referred to as Respondent.
Sometimes, one and the same commercial transaction gives rise to more than one court proceeding or arbitration proceeding. Such related proceedings can inter alia concern different deliveries made under the same CISG contract, claims arising from the same CISG contract that are brought against different respondents, or parallel proceedings that have been initiated in different jurisdictions or before a court and an arbitral tribunal.
Whenever we are aware of such related proceedings, we list them in the category "Related case".
Note that our "Related case" category does not cover court decisions that were rendered by a different court (of a lower or a higher instance) in the same case; such decisions instead appear in the category "Case history". The same applies for court decisions rendered in direct connection to an arbitral proceeding, as inter alia court decisions upon an application to set aside (vacate) an arbitral award or upon a motion to enforce an arbitral award; such court decisions similarly appear in the "Case history" of the arbitral award concerned.
"Seller" refers to the party that has sold the goods under the contract. It is possible that there is more than one seller. The seller will often but not neccessarily be a direct party to the proceedings, which is why claimant/respondent and buyer/seller are two distinct categories.
The "place of business" listed for the Seller refers to the Seller's relevant place of business as defined by Art. 10 CISG. It may or may not be the country of the Seller's registration or of the location of its headquarters.
A party is also referred to as "Seller" in cases in which the party had allegedly acted as a seller, but in which the legal nature of the contractual relationship was a matter of dispute: Even if the Court eventually ruled that the parties had not concluded a sales contract but e.g. a service contract, the party's designation remains "Seller" (and not e.g. "alleged seller" or "service provider").
"Buyer" refers to the party that has bought the goods under the contract. It is possible that there is more than one buyer. The buyer will often but not neccessarily be a direct party to the proceedings, which is why claimant/respondent and buyer/seller are two distinct categories.
The "place of business" listed for the Buyer refers to the Buyer's relevant place of business as defined by Art. 10 CISG. It may or may not be the country of the Buyer's registration or of the location of its headquarters.
A contracting party is also referred to as "Buyer" in cases in which the party had allegedly acted as a buyer, but in which the legal nature of the contractual relationship was a matter of dispute: Even if the Court eventually ruled that the parties had not concluded a sales contract but e.g. a service contract, the party's designation remains "Buyer" (and not e.g. "alleged buyer" or "client").
Category of goods
The "Category of goods" listed is based on the United Nations Standard International Trade Classification, Revision 4 (SITC) published by the Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 2006. Originally developed in order to achieve a greater comparability of international merchandise trade statistics, the SITC is today primarily used by countries and international organizations as an analytical tool for the study long-term trends in international merchandise trade and the aggregation of traded commodities into classes suitable for economic analysis.
The "Category of goods" uses the division codes (example: "67") and division descriptions (example: "Iron and steel") of SITC's classification scheme. It does not use SITC's more detailed groups, subgroups and basic headings.
Goods as per contract
In contrast to the "Category of goods", "Goods as per contract" names the specific goods (or type of goods) and their quantity as agreed between the parties in their respective sales contract, as far as this information has been included into the court judgment or arbitral award.
Note that the degree in which courts or arbitral tribunals specify the content of the sales contract varies significantly - accordingly, so does the information displayed in our category "Goods as per contract". Many CISG decisions, particularly those rendered in arbitrations, do not include any information about the goods sold, but merely speak of "goods", of "material" or of "equipment". In such cases, we describe the goods as "Goods (unspecified)".
The category "Price" lists the contractually agreed price of the goods and its currency. The currency is specified using the ISO 4217 code.
Where a case concerns claims that have arisen out of more than one CISG contract, the combined contract price is listed.
As not all court decisions and arbitral awards mention the contract price, CISG-online includes a significant number of case presentations that are missing this category.
The category "CISG applicable" lists whether the court or arbitral tribunal that rendered the particular decision held that the CISG was applicable to the case at hand, and the legal reasoning it gave (if any).
The entry "no (CISG overlooked)" is used if an appellate court in the case concerned has later ruled that the court should have applied the CISG, but in error didn't.
(Domestic) law applied in addition
This section lists the domestic law that the deciding court or arbitral tribunal applied to matters not governed by the CISG. Occasionally, more than one domestic law was applied for this purpose in one and the same case.
Where only an international instrument was applied in addition to the CISG (as, e.g., the EU Brussels Regulation), it is also listed here, as are soft law instruments where they have been used in this regard (as, e.g., the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts that have occasionally been applied for gap-filling purposes in CISG cases).
Where the court or arbitral tribunal either (1) found the CISG to be inapplicable in the case at hand or (2) only referred to CISG provisions when applying domestic law (with the section "CISG applicable" therefore stating "No – the present decision merely refers to the CISG in interpreting other rules of law"), the (mostly domestic) law listed in the present section is the only law that was applied in the case. In such scenarios, the section title "... applied in addition" is therefore misleading.
Key CISG provisions interpreted
[to be added]
The provisions are listed in numeric order without regard to their respective relevance, apart from the distinction between "key provisions" and the separately listed "provisions also cited".
Neither this nor any other section within our case presentations attempt to distinguish between the ratio (holding) of the case and obiter dicta (non-binding opinions) contained therein.
Key CISG provisions interpreted and applied
CISG provisions are listed under this category if the treatment of these provisions in the judgment fulfil both prior definitions (interpreted, applied).
CISG provisions also cited
The CISG provisions listed in this section are cited in the decision, without being considerably applied to the facts of the case nor being interpreted in a more general manner.
This decision cites the following other CISG-online case(s)
This section lists other CISG decisions that are cited by the present decision ("active" cross-citations).
Clicking on one of the other CISG decisions in the list will take you directly to that decision's CISG-online case presentation.
This decision cites the following CISG-AC Opinion
This section indicates whether the CISG decision presented is referring in its text to any Opinion(s) issued by the CISG Advisory Council (CISG-AC), and which.
Clicking on the entry shown opens the full text of the respective CISG-AC Opinion (in pdf format).
Information about all Opinions issued by the CISG-AC, including all Opinions' full text and a list of CISG case law citing each Opinion, is available in the CISG-online platform's general section on "CISG-AC Opinions in case law".
This decision is cited by
This section lists other CISG decisions that cite the present decision ("passive" cross-citations).
Clicking on one of the other CISG decisions in the list will take you directly to that decision's CISG-online case presentation.
Decision published in ...
This section lists citations to law journals, printed case collections and (sometimes) databases like Westlaw in which the decision has been published.
The CLOUT number is the number under which an Abstract of the respective CISG decision was published in UNCITRAL's "Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts" (CLOUT) system.
If a CLOUT number is shown, our case presentation links to the text of the CLOUT Abstract in its section "Full text, translation and abstract of decision" (the very bottom of the case presentation).
Case identifier in the old Albert H. Kritzer Database
This section lists the case identifier formerly used in the Albert Kritzer CISG database of the Institute of International Commercial Law at Pace University School of Law, when this database was still hosted under the Internet address (URL) "http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu" (from 1996 until 2019 or so). At that time, cases applying the CISG could be found in the Kritzer database unter URLs like, for example, "http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cases/021203s1.html", consisting of a general part ("http://cisgw3.law.pace.edu/cases/") and a case identifier that was specific to each case (for example, "021203s1").
Originally, we therefore provided in this section of CISG-online (then under the heading "This case in the Albert H. Kritzer database") a direct link to the respective presentation of each case in the Albert H. Kritzer database.
However, when the database structure of the Kritzer database was completely reformed, the old case identifiers were no longer used. Our direct link connections therefore unfortunately no longer worked. Accordingly, we had to rename this section of our database and now only list the old case identifier in it, because this information may continue to be useful for CISG scholars and practitioners, given that many older full case decisions or law journal publications included references to the old Kritzer database URLs: The old case identifier may therefore (at least) allow an identification of the decision these old references were referring to.
European Case Law Identifier (ECLI)
The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) is a uniform identifier assigned to court decisions rendered by courts in Member States of the European Union (EU) or by courts of the European Union itself (notably the European Court of Justice).
The ECLI has gradually been introduced throughout the EU since 2011. The use of ECLI in different EU Member States varies, as does the degree to which States have retroactively assigned ECLI also to court decisions that were rendered before 2011.
Comments on this decision
This section lists case notes, case comments and law journal articles that comment on the decision.
Whenever the full text of the respective commenting publication is contained in our Bibliography (as pdf file), a clickable pdf symbol is shown, providing direct access to the comment.
Full text, translation and abstract of decision
The bottommost section of each case presentation contains links to available full texts, translations and abstracts of the decision, if any. All the linked files are in pdf format.
Why we discourage the use of direct links to our pdf files
In contrast to our CISG-online numbers, which are of a permanent nature and are accordingly never changed once they have been assigned to a particular CISG decision, the file names of our pdf files (full texts, translations and abstracts) are unfortunately not permanent: Our database system automatically generates a new file name for each pdf file that is uploaded within CISG-online, resulting in file names like "2345_60397617.pdf". Should a case file later be modified in order to, for example, improve the formatting, add margin numbers or remove a typo, the uploaded new case text will automatically be assigned a new, different file name.
Accordingly, users should be aware that there is no guarantee that file names within CISG-online will remain unchanged – and whenever a direct link to its URL is included into outside documents (books, court judgments, law journal articles), there is an inherent risk that such links will sooner or later lead nowhere, because the target file referred to has been updated and now has a different file name.
We therefore encourage citations to CISG-online to be made by referring to our CISG-online number only: This does require the reader to type the CISG-online number into our "Search for cases" form in order to get to the case presentation (including the full text), but will avoid disappointment resulting from outdated URL links. (But, of course, this is merely a suggestion.)
Full text of the decision
Given that our case law platform includes cases from 60+ jurisdictions worldwide, we are confronted with a broad variety of types of court decisions (final judgments, partial judgments, summary judgments, preliminary decisions, orders, partial orders, memorandum orders, etc.) and of arbitral decisions (final awards, partial awards, procedural orders, etc.). We do not distinguish between these types of decisions and merely require that a decision was rendered in a CISG case.
We furthermore include decisions rendered in CISG cases irrespective of their precedential value in the domestic court system from which they emerged.
However, we do not include briefs or memoranda submitted by a party to a CISG court proceeding during the proceeding.
Sources for full texts
The full texts of 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.
Presentation and editing by CISG-online
As part of our editing of case texts, we sometimes delete references to the parties' briefs or exhibits that are found notably in judgments by trial courts and appellate courts (sometimes in significant numbers). The reason is that such references make the case texts cumbersome to read and have little or no informational value for the readers, because she or he has no access to the trial documents referred to.
In particular: The blue margin numbers
More recently, we have started to add margin numbers (colour: blue) at the right-hand margin of our case texts. The use of a font colour that is different than the (black) font colour of the case text itself indicates that the margin numbers are in no way an "official" part of the decision's text, but have been added as part of our editorial work.
The purpose of the margin numbers is, first and foremost, to make CISG-online decisions more easily citable: It enables citations to not only refer to a decision's CISG-online number, but to more specifically reference a margin number in that decision, making it less time-consuming for readers to follow up on the citation.
Such a citation could e.g. read: CISG-online 123, at para. 12.
Whenever we have added margin numbers to both a CISG-online decision's full text and its translation into English, the numbering runs in parallel.
Abstract of the decision
Most abstracts presented in CISG-online are abstracts produced as part of UNCITRAL's "Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts" (CLOUT) programme, which are made available here with kind permission from UNCITRAL. We only include CLOUT abstracts written in English; abstracts on the same CLOUT case written in the five other official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) can be found on UNCITRAL's CLOUT homepage.
For some cases, we present an abstract written by CISG-online's International Contributors or CISG-online's staff members.
Translation of the decision