As the keynote speaker of the Spring 2019 CISG Conference, Harry M Flechtner, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, candidly shares his perspectives on the development and progress of the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) through the years. He begins with his initial introduction to the convention and then reflects upon several important issues and challenges facing the CISG, particularly involving uniform international law initiatives. Professor Flecther looks hard at what’s working and what’s not and with a critical eye he draws attention to crucial matters yet to be resolved. While his perspective is light on optimism, he holds strong to hope.
Professor Flechtner concludes that uniform international law initiatives may possibly be doomed, but ‘we absolutely do not know that for a certainty. And in the face of that uncertainty, the only rational thing to do is to bet on and work toward the hopeful possibility. If that turns out to be futile, well we haven’t made it any worse, and we apparently could not avoid it. But wouldn’t we all feel a little stupid if it turned out we could have made a difference, but we didn’t bother trying because we were depressed by the current situation. So, let us all join hands and march bravely and energetically forward. It may be our march is doomed to be futile – but at least the company will be good. And who knows, perhaps our efforts will produce a glorious new paradise of international cooperation and incredible international prosperity – or at least a somewhat better world – than if we don’t bother. It just makes sense to bother. Let’s do it.’
Flechtner, Harry M, The Past, Present and Future of the CISG (and Other Uniform Commercial Code Law Initiatives) (April 1, 2021). Journal of Law and Commerce, volume 38, p 25, 2019-2020, University of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No 2021-15.