South Korea's Ten-Year Experience with CISG and its Prospects

한국 CISG 가입 10주년 회고와 전망

  • 오원석 (성균관대학교 경영전문대학원)
  • Received : 2015.11.18
  • Accepted : 2015.11.26
  • Published : 2015.12.01


CISG provides a uniform framework for contracts of sale of goods between parties whose places of business are in different States. In 2004 South Korea became the 63th State around world to adopt CISG. Starting next year CISG goes into effect as the law that governs the contracts for international sale of goods, in respect of which CISG displaces the existing domestic civil and commercial codes of Korea. By its provision Article 1(a), CISG applies directly between Contracting States without reference to private international law. As South Korea's biggest trade partners including China, the U.S. and Japan are also parties to CISG, the number of such direct applications continuously increases. Now it is estimated, though roughly, that CISG governs about two-thirds of Korea's import and export trade of goods. The private survey of the author shows that up to now in South Korea there are 39 court cases decided by the first instance courts, 29 cases by the appellate court and six cases by the Supreme Court of South Korea. In nearly all these cases, CISG applied directly. Furthermore, currently CISG is, in several respects, influencing upon the revision of Korean civil code which is designed to modernize it: The revised draft published in 2013 adopts the rules on the revocation of offers provided in articles 15 and 16, the rule on the termination of offers provided in article 17 and the rule on the time that an acceptance takes its effect provided in article 18 of CISG. More importantly, in accordance with the rules taken by CISG, the revision draft no longer requires the existence of fault or negligence on behalf of the breaching party in order for the aggrieved party to void the contract, and the revised draft denies the right of avoidance for trivial, not fundamental, breaches of contract.