oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods was adopted and opened for signature at a diplomatic conference in Vienna on 11 April 1980. South Africa was not represented at the conference and the Department of Industries and Commerce has asked ASSOCOM to comment on the desirability of South Africa acceding to the Convention. There is the possibility, therefore, that the Convention will become part of our law. The purpose of the Convention is to achieve a universal law of international sale. As such it constitutes another step towards the ideal of global uniformity in the law of international commercial transactions. An analysis of the 101 articles contained in the convention is quite beyond the scope of a journal article. The purpose of this article is fourfold: (a) to place the Convention in some historical perspective; (b) to discuss the legal environment into which the Convention is being introduced; (c) to consider the form of the Convention and to refer specifically to those articles which define the sphere of application of the Convention, and to refer to the general provisions which are designed to steer national courts away from the conceptual peduliarities of their domestic legal systems and towards a universal construction of the Convention; (d) to evaluate the role of the Convention in bringing South Africa closer to a universal law of sale where the sale is an international one.

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