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Commercial Law

Commercial Law

2012

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Penalty Clauses And The Cisg, Jack Graves Jan 2012

Penalty Clauses And The Cisg, Jack Graves

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Commercial agreements often provide for “fixed sums” payable upon a specified breach. Such agreements are generally enforced in civil law jurisdictions. In contrast, the common law distinguishes between “liquidated damages” and “penalty” clauses, enforcing the former, while invalidating the latter as a penalty. The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) does not directly address the payment of “fixed sums” as damages, and the validity of “penalty” clauses has, traditionally, been relegated to otherwise applicable domestic national law under CISG Article 4. This traditional orthodoxy has recently been challenged—suggesting that the fate of a penalty clause …