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CISG and the VIS Moot: Text and Status of CISG

Text and Status of CISG from the United Nations

Like any other treaty, CISG only applies to those countries that have agreed to be bound by it, through ratification, accession, approval, or acceptance. When agreeing to be bound by a treaty, countries may submit reservations, indicating that they do not agree to be bound by a specific part of the treaty. Most treaties allow countries to submit any reservation that does not defeat the purpose of the treaty but CISG is more restrictive, allowing parties to choose from only a few specific reservations identified in Articles 92 to 98 of CISG. Many countries have also submitted declarations- short statements explaining how they interpret specific articles of CISG.

Like virtually all treaties, CISG designates the United Nations as its depository- the organization responsible for keeping the text of the treaty and tracking which countries have signed, ratified, and made reservations or declarations regarding the treaty.

The U.N. publishes the full text of CISG as part of the United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.):

U.N.T.S. also publishes each country's notifications of signatures, ratifications and other consents to be bound, and reservations and declarations:

For greater convenience, the U.N. also summarizes all of this information in Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General (MTDSG):

Text and Status of CISG from Other Sources

U.N.T.S. is the preferred source for CISG. Not only is it CISG's official depository but, additionally, under Bluebook Rule 21.4.5, treaties should be cited to (in order of preference) U.S.T., then T.I.A.S., then U.N.T.S. Unusually, although the U.S. has ratified CISG, it has never published CISG in either of its two modern official treaty publications, T.I.A.S. or U.S.T., leaving U.N.T.S. as the preferred source to cite.

However, if you find the U.N.T.S. text difficult to work with, you can also access the complete CISG text on all of the major websites covering CISG. Many of the sites also post information on its status.

CISG has also been published as part of many other sources, including:

  • S. Treaty Doc. No. 98-9 (1983)- A U.S. Senate document, available from HeinOnline.
  • 52 Fed. Reg. 6262 (March 2, 1987)- The Department of State published CISG in the Federal Register, a business daily government newsletter publishing documents by executive agencies. Historical copies of the Federal Register are available from HeinOnline, Lexis, Westlaw, and
  • 19 I.L.M. 668 (1980)- International Legal Materials is a journal that republishes major international legal documents and is available from HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw.
  • USCS- International Conventions- Lexis' unofficial version of the U.S. statutes, the United States Code Service (USCS), includes a volume compiling international conventions. The volume is placed at the end of the set in print and can be accessed on Lexis by typing USCS- International Conventions into the main search box.