Saara Mehta from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal writes on the UNIDROIT Principles on International Commercial Contracts.


The Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is widely used as the substantive law in international commercial contracts. Its relevance today is only increasing, due to the growing incidence of commercial transactions in the modern world. It found its genesis in the need to promote uniformity in sale of goods transactions across the world, a sentiment which has been expressed in its Article 7. However, like all treaties, it was the result of multilateral negotiations and saw heavy disagreements among those negotiating it. The consequent consensus was by way of a compromise, and there remained gaps and ambiguities in the treaty’s text.

This essay examines the viability of using the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts to fill these gaps. In the first section, the author introduces the Convention and the Principles, and their immense but distinct utilities. In the second section, the author has compared the two, highlighting their similarities and differences, with a view to examine whether it makes sense to approach gap-filling in the Convention using the Principles. In the third section, a legal justification for using the Principles in this manner is looked for. The fourth section comprises two examples of problem areas within the CISG which could be effectively supplemented using the Principles. In the fifth section, the author has examined the various approaches of courts and tribunals while using the Principles for gap-filling, and critically determined which of these approaches is optimum. The last section concludes.