An analysis of five of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) that are most at risk of divergent interpretation by tribunals within diverse nations and a brief overview of the implications of South Africa's choice not to ratify the convention.
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This study provides a critical analysis of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) in light of five aspects of the Convention, namely provisions dealing with usage of trade, the need for written contracts, open price terms, the notice requirement for non-conforming goods and force majeure that are most at risk of divergent interpretation by courts and tribunals globally. Such an analysis would also require a brief discussion on the background of the CISG, its objectives as well as the structure and scope of application of the Convention. The study aims to create awareness of the CISG in South Africa even though it is not a member state of the Convention, considering the wide international acceptance of the Convention and the fact that it has been adopted by many of South Africa’s major trading partners. In addition to a critical analysis on the provisions most at risk of divergent interpretation, this study also outlines the advantages and disadvantages of the Convention in order to assess South Africa’s current position as a non-member state and the pros and cons of any future ratification of the CISG.