Editor's Note:


The usual procedure for an acceding state is to first sign the Convention, ratify it according to its own constitutional procedures, deposit the instrument of accession and then implement it into its domestic legal system.< The acceding state has 12 months from the date of deposit to complete this implementation until the CISG enters into force (see CISG Article 99(2)). The State of Israel, however, acted differently. It first implemented the CISG into the Israeli legal system, by enacting the Sales Law (International Sale of Goods), 5760-1999, which passed in the Knesset on October 25, 1999, and came into force on February 5, 2000. Only two years later, on January 22, 2002, was Israel's instrument of accession deposited. The Israeli Foreign Ministry wanted to wait until the law passed in order to prevent the embarrassing situation that could arise if they would fail to get the law passed in time and then Israel would be in violation of its international obligations. This, however, has created another problem: Since, the CISG only goes into force 12 months after the deposit of the instrument (CISG Art. 99(2)), it means that Israel will not be considered a "Contracting State" until then (February 1, 2003). Therefore, in the meanwhile (i.e., for contracts concluded before February 1, 2003), the CISG won't be applied to international sales contracts IN THE COURTS OF OTHER STATES, where one of the parties is from Israel - at least not under CISG 1.1(a).

As for application under Art. 1.1(b) (for those states that have not made reservations regarding Article 1.1(b) unlike the US, China and others), it appears that the CISG could still be applied to such a contract, however, if the rules of Private International Law lead to the application of the law of a Contracting State. This could happen in one of two scenarios: (1) If the rules of Private International Law lead to the application of the law of a Contracting State other than Israel (for instance the law of the European seller). (2) If these rules lead to the application of the law of Israel, since the law of Israel that applies to all international sale contracts (after Feb. 5, 2000) is the CISG.

The last scenario needs to be explained: Since in the intermediate period (between February 2000 and February 2003) Israel was not a "Contracting State", it would seem that even Article 1.1(b) could never apply to it. One could nevertheless arrive to the application of the CISG in such a case, not based on Art. 1.1(b), but based on the general principles of Private International Law, since this would be the "proper law of the contract". In this connection it should be stressed that Israel has applied the CISG in its internal law to ALL international sale contracts. They have, in other words, used the all-encompassing (“imperialistic”) approach that was previously used in The Hague Conventions. So if Israel's law is to be applied, it would definitely lead to the CISG.