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21 Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law 269 (2011)


CISG was formally uniform at the time of its adoption. It used the same words in all of the jurisdictions adopting it. But uniform words are not enough to guarantee uniform application. For many commentators, in fact, the most significant impediment to the continued existence or efficacy of the CISG is the lack of uniform interpretive outcomes in hard CISG cases – cases where a CISG provision is vague either on its face or in its application. Without greater uniformity of interpretive outcomes, these commentators suggest, the CISG will, over time, fail to supply standard solutions to similar contracting problems and thus fail to supply the predictability that parties need. In this Article, Professor Allen Blair argues that these commentators start with an exaggerated expectation about the kind and degree of uniformity called for by the CISG and demanded by parties. Contrary to the standard conception of CISG interpretation, uniformity of interpretive outcomes is an improper goal with respect to CISG provisions cast as open-textured standards, and any effort to harden these standards into rigid rules could, in fact, undermine the efficiency goals of contracting parties.