INCOTERMS as a form of standardisation in international sales law : an analysis of the interplay between mercantile custom and substantive sales law with specific reference to the passing of risk

Coetzee, Juana (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis (LLD (Mercantile Law))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: International sales contracts have very specific needs that stem from the multiplicity of legal systems which apply to such contracts. In addition to harmonised law, mercantile custom is able to address many of these needs. Mercantile custom represents usages which are clear, certain and efficient and are expected to be known and applied by merchants in a particular trade or region. To this extent mercantile custom fulfils an automatic harmonisation function. However, where a custom does not enjoy uniform application across all branches of trade, the harmonisation function of mercantile custom is limited, as is the case with trade terms. Trade terms reflect mercantile customs and usages which developed over a long time in order to simplify the trade in goods that are transported from one place to the other. They regulate the delivery obligations of the seller and buyer as well as associated obligations such as the passing of risk. Trade terms negate the need for elaborate contract clauses and appear in abbreviated form in contracts of sale. Although they provide a uniform expression of mercantile custom in a particular location or trade, the understanding of trade terms tend to differ from country to country, region to region or from one branch of trade to the next. The ICC INCOTERMS is an effort to standardise trade term definitions at the hand of the most consistent mercantile customs and practices. The aim of this study is to investigate the efficiency of INCOTERMS as a form of standardisation in international sales law. For purposes of the investigation the focus is limited to the passing of risk. Although national laws usually have a default risk regime in place, merchants still prefer to regulate risk by means of trade terms. This study will investigate the legal position in the case of FOB, CIF and DDU terms. An analysis of the risk regimes of a few selected national systems will show that each has their own understanding of these trade terms. The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) does not refer to trade terms, but many commentators have concluded that the CISG risk rule is consistent with INCOTERMS. The study will discuss this in more detail. To determine the efficiency of INCOTERMS as a form of standardisation in international sales law, the study examines their characteristics, legal nature as well as their limited scope of regulation. Specific emphasis is placed on the interplay between the CISG and INCOTERMS and the possibility of some form of interaction and collaboration between the two instruments. It is concluded that collaboration between INCOTERMS and the CISG adds value to the international law of sales by increasing the efficiency of an international business transaction and thereby facilitating international trade.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Internasionale koopkontrakte het spesifieke behoeftes wat voortspruit uit die veelvoudigheid van regstelsels van toepassing op so ‘n kontrak. Baie van hierdie behoeftes kan aangespreek word deur geharmoniseerde regsreëls in samehang met handelsgewoontes en –gebruike. Handelsgewoontes verteenwoordig duidelike, seker en effektiewe gebruike. Daar word dus van handelaars wat in ‘n bepaalde bedryf of streek handel dryf, verwag om van hierdie gebruike kennis te neem en hulle toe te pas. In hierdie konteks vervul handelsgebruike ‘n outomatiese harmoniseringsfunksie. Waar ‘n gebruik nie eenvormig toegepas word oor alle bedrywe heen nie, is die harmoniseringsfunksie van handelsgebruike egter beperk. Handelsterme bied ‘n tipiese voorbeeld hiervan. Handelsterme verteenwoordig bepaalde handelsgewoontes en –gebruike wat oor ‘n geruime tyd ontwikkel het ten einde handel in goedere wat van een plek na die ander vervoer word, te vergemaklik. Hulle reguleer die leweringsverpligtinge van die verkoper en koper asook ander verpligtinge wat met lewering verband hou, soos byvoorbeeld die oorgang van risiko. Handelsterme doen weg met lang en omslagtige kontraksbedinge aangesien hulle in die vorm van afkortings in die kontrak figureer. Alhoewel handelsterme ‘n uniforme uitdrukking van gebruike in ‘n bepaalde gebied of bedryf verteenwoordig, is dit egter so dat die inhoud van handelsterme van land tot land, streek tot streek of van een tipe bedryf tot die ander verskil. INCOTERMS is ‘n poging om die inhoud van handelsterme te standaardiseer aan die hand van die mees eenvormige handelsgewoontes en –gebruike. Die doel van hierdie studie is om die effektiwiteit van INCOTERMS as ‘n vorm van standaardisering in die internasionale koopreg te ondersoek. Vir doeleindes van die ondersoek word die fokus beperk tot die oorgang van risiko. Al het nasionale regstelsels gewoonlik ‘n verstek risiko-reël in plek, verkies handelaars steeds om risiko by wyse van handelsterme te reguleer. Die studie ondersoek die regsposisie in die geval van FOB-, CIF-, en DDU-terme. ‘n Analise van risiko-regulering in ‘n aantal nasionale sisteme toon dat elk hul eie betekenis heg aan die inhoud van hierdie terme. Alhoewel die Weense Koopkonvensie geensins na handelsterme verwys nie, voer verskeie kommentatore aan dat die Konvensie se risiko-bestel verenigbaar is met dié van INCOTERMS en sal hierdie aspek gevolglik in meer besonderhede in die studie aangespreek word. Ten einde die effektiwiteit van INCOTERMS te bepaal, word daar ondersoek ingestel na hulle kenmerke, regsaard en beperkte aanwendingsgebied. Spesiale klem word gelê op die wisselwerking tussen die Weense Koopkonvensie en INCOTERMS asook die moontlikheid van interaksie en samewerking tussen die twee instrumente. Die gevolgtrekking is dat interaksie tussen die Koopkonvensie en INCOTERMS waarde toevoeg tot die internasionale koopreg deur die effektiwiteit van die internasionale besigheidstransaksie te verhoog en gevolglik internasionale handel te bevorder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5222
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