Exemptions for the non-performance of contractual obligations in cisg article 79 and the quest for uniformity in international sales law

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Janet Walker


The premise of this dissertation is that Article 79 of the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods-which concerns exemptions for contractual non-performance due to an ""impediment"" beyond a party's control-should be interpreted autonomously, that is, as an international norm, without reference to domestic legal concepts and principles. To this end, this dissertation considers the application of Article 79 by courts and arbitral tribunals across a number of signatory states. By studying the treatment of Article 79 by the courts and arbitral tribunals of various states, differences in doctrine and case law have been discerned. The extent of conceptual differences towards the doctrine of excuses for nonperformance also helps to determine whether the CISG's goal of uniformity is achievable. This research concludes that there has been a convergence in the treatment of Article 79, and this supports the premise that a legal doctrine-in this case, the excuse for non- performance-germinating in various legal systems, ultimately evolved into an autonomous principle, towards a conceptual goal of uniformity in a body of international commercial law, regardless of its unique development in separate and distinct legal jurisdictions.


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