Schmitthoff Essay Competition

The author was awarded the first prize in the Clive M. Schmitthoff Essay Competition 2011 for on essay based on this book.

This book studies the situation where unexpected circumstances render the performance of a contract much more difficult or onerous and those which frustrate the purpose of the transaction.

The complexity of modern contractual relationships and, in general, of the social and economic environment, requires similar weight to be given to values other than the classical values of freedom, security and certainty. Cooperation, solidarity and flexibility have gained importance. In this context, the recognition of a change of circumstances as a remedy for the affected party may be considered as another aspect of the renewed importance of justice and fairness as a counterbalance to the general principle of freedom of contract. In particular, the affected party is entitled to rely on a proper set of remedies directed at the restoration of the agreement until the limit of an adequate sacrifice for the debtor, which includes the duty to renegotiate and in the case of the renegotiations failing, the revision of the contract by the courts. Thus, the contract may be considered to be a union of balanced interests, an instrument of loyal cooperation and a result of the mutual confidence between the parties.

The study includes a comparative analysis of European and Latin American jurisdictions as well as American contract law. In addition to national jurisdictions, it is also examined how modern model codes or restatements of international contract law deal with this problem. Because of its broad comparative analysis, this book is a useful tool to national and regional legislators as well as to judges and parties involved in cases in which a supervening and unforeseen change of circumstances has severely altered the performance of the contract.

Founded in 1991, the Pace Law School Institute of International Commercial Law (IICL) promotes the commercial rule of law and access to justice by leveraging technological innovation to (1) provide high-quality educational opportunities and online legal resources in international commercial law and dispute resolution; and (2) facilitate the development of online dispute prevention, management and resolution systems.   For the last twenty-five years, the IICL has supported its two flagship programs, the CISG Database and the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, as well as continuously innovated to provide new programming and resources for the international commercial law and dispute resolution communities. 

CISG Database – Setting the Standard

Built on the philosophy that universally-free access to legal information contributes to peaceful cooperation among trading partners and countries, the Pace-IICL CISG Database offers the most current and comprehensive collection of information on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the law governing commercial transactions among the majority of the world’s trading nations. Our electronic library includes:

  • Identification of States that have adopted the CISG;
  • Texts of the CISG in a variety of languages;
  • Volumes of material on the CISG’s legislative history;
  • A bibliography on International Contract Law, containing over 10,000 entries;
  • Over 1,500 full-texts of monographs, commentaries and books on International Contract Law;
  • Over 2,850 CISG case law presentations (including over 1,500 translations);
  • Annotated CISG text pages;
  • Guides for managers and counsel;
  • Links to the Autonomous Network of CISG Databases; and
  • Links to related international commercial law sites.

Vis Moot – The World’s Meeting Place

The Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, named after the Institute’s first Director, Willem C. Vis and intially directed by Eric Bergsten, Professor Emeritus at Pace Law School, is a staple in the training of law students in international sales law and international commercial arbitration around the world, as well as a professional networking event for persons in both fields of law.

Beyond the Database and Moot

Building on these successful programs, the Pace Institute of International Commercial Law continues to contribute to the landscape of teaching and scholarship in international commercial law and international commercial arbitration through its sponsorship and initiative in the creation of the following programs:

For further information contact:

Institute of International Commercial Law
Preston Room 204
Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
(914) 422-4002

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