Thursday, 18 November 2010

Remedies under the Vienna Convention

Remedies under the Vienna convention

This post will briefly consider the remedies available under the Vienna Convention. It says very little about the conventions itself.

The Vienna Convention, properly known as the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International sale of goods 1980 was drafted with the aim of harmonizing the law in relation to international sale of goods

The remedies available under the convention include:

Avoidance of contract (Art 25)
Fixing additional time for performance and curing the breach (Art37, 47 48, 49 63)
Specific performance (Art 39, 45, 46 61 and 62)
Reduction in price (Art 50)
Damages (Art 74 and 77)
These remedies are all intended to promote compliance with contractual obligations.

A. Avoidance of the contract. (Art25)
Avoiding the contract under Art 25 will only be available in following circumstance.
1. The party seeking to avoid the contract should suffer a detriment, example, non-payment
2. The detriment must be substantial to deprive the party of his benefit. It is suggested that non- acceptance of the goods will be sufficient.
3. The result must be foreseeable.
Academics such as Indira Carr assert that avoidance of contract as a remedy will only be available in exceptional circumstances.

B. Fixing additional time for performance and curing the breach (Art 37,47,48,49 and 63)
This remedy is not found in common law jurisdictions, it essentially gives, both the buyer and seller of goods the opportunity to cure a potential breach on their part with the result of preventing a possible right of the other party to avoid the contract.

C. Specific performance (Art39, 45, 46, 61 and 62)
Specific performance, for the purposes of the convention allows one party to compel the other to fulfill his obligation under the contract. Unlike common law specific performance the remedy is not conditional upon damages being inadequate. Further, the Convention follows the civil law tradition in allowing specific performance where the seller faces difficulty in acquiring goods to meet the contract stipulation in dispute situations. This has the result of cushioning the harshness of the English courts approach evident in Societe des industries metellargiques SA v Bronx Engineering Co Ltd.

D. Reduction in Price (Art 50)
Under this article the buyer may reduce the price in the same proportion as the value of the goods actually delivered had at the time of delivery bears to the value that conforming goods would have had at that time.

E. Damages (Art 74 and 77)
The party who suffers from a breach is entitled to damages. Damage includes a sum which is equal to any loss, which includes any loss of profit. This does not include foreseeable damages provided that the party who intends to claim took steps to mitigate his loss. Predicting how article 74 will be interpreted is not certain. IndIra Carr seems to suggest that the court in different jurisdictions have not consistently applied the article.

There are other remedies available to the parties that have not be considered in this post, however readers who may wish to consult ‘international Trade Law’ 4th edn by Indira Carr for further details.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Haiti : One year later

One year after the deadly earthquake in Haiti cholera threatens the life of thousands of Haitians. The United   Nations on the 12th November 2010, reports that (UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) over 8,000 people have died and another 12,000 treated at hospital. raises Several questions ; How effective was the relief efforts immediately following the earthquake? Is it true that the  United States and Others were more interested in a public relations campaign than setting up a sustained effort to help the Haitian people? How much blame must the Haitian people accept for thier situation? Whatever the answer may be one thing remains true,the Haitian people desperately needs help.
 If  G20 Countries are serious about reducing world poverty and promoting the dignity of the Human then Haiti's state of desperation represents a Jewel of an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment. Perhaps the situation in Haiti can be used as an opportunity for G20 Nations to heed the call by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon to invest in developing countries, In his rather interesting address at the recent Soul meeting of the G20, Ban reminded members of their commitment to fighting poverty, "promises made must be promises kept. Our word must translate into action on the ground".
Haiti has long been neglected by the developed world. After the defeat of the French many years ago by the Haitian people led by Toussaint L'ouverture it seems that Haiti is still paying for its "sin". If the bible is correct and forgiveness it true then France would do well by leading the effort to fight the current cholera outbreak in Haiti and also assist in the long term development of Haiti by Investing in the Small Caribbean Nation.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Caribbean Politics and St. Vincent

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has defended estimates of damage caused to his country by Hurricane Tomas against accusation of exaggeration by his opposition, New Democratic Party. Anyone reading the article on,, may wonder if the opposition is making a genuine attempt to protect St Vincent's image or playing dirty politics. Other people, including myself would be peeved at the what seems to have become a practice of political parties in the Caribbean of criticizing their governments at every possible opportunity. Unfortunately  political parties seems to forget that we all suffer from negative press.The Ruling Party, Opposition and the entire Nation, we all suffer.

In a world where information is no longer golden and available for all on the internet its imperative that politician develop an attitude of Country first and politics second. Just twenty years ago what was said on the political platform traveled no further than those gathered. Today political utterances live on forever and is read and  sometimes replayed for generation. A quick look at You Tube would prove the point, political speeches  of American President, Barrack Obama and those as old as  Mohatma Ghandi's can be retrieved. Therefore if we are serious about presenting ourselves as an  intelligent and politically mature people we must put away selfishness and promote our Caribbean  as first in everything we do and say and our individual political ambitions second.

Let me hope this post is taken as a call for political maturity in the Caribbean and not an attack on New Democratic Party.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sale of Goods and pasage of property

In any commercial contract it is of paramount importance that each party is clear as to who bears the risk of damage to the goods subject to the contract and at what point property in them passes. The general rule is that he who has property in the goods also bears the risk, however determining when property passes it not always easy.

This post will look at Section 18, rule5  of The Sale of Goods Act 1979 which deals with the passage of property in unascertained goods. For purposes of space, the wording or the section is not repeated but the important issues raised under the section will be discussed. The importance of the rule is the presumtion that no property in the goods can pass until he goods are unconditinally appropriated to the contract. Most litigation has arisen  under the rule relates to  the interpretation of unconditional appropriation. Professors Sealey and Hooley in their book, Commercial law Text Cases and Materials (fourth edn pg 326) notes that the better interpretation of unconditional is the one adapted by professor Benjamin; 'unconitional' means 'not subject to any condition upon which the fulfillment of which the passing of the property depends'. On the other hand appropriation is best determined by looking at the approach taken by the courts.

Several cases are important in this regard. In Wait v Baker it was noted that appropriation may mean several things. for example it may mean the vendor making a selection, it is also noted to mean an agreement by both parties that  certain articles deliver in accordance with the contract. Sealey and Hooley says that determining when sufficient appropriation for the purposes of the Act is problematic. Even placing a persons name on a product may not be sufficient. In Carlos Federspiel & Co SA v Carles Twigg & Co Ltd, therefore the act of marking bicycles with the intended purchasers name and taking it to the expected point of delivery was not sufficient. the reasoning of the court was that the seller could always change his mind and deliver other bicycles. Logically this seems appropriate but a bit harsh on the expected purchaser.In an Earlier case, however the position was taken that handing bottles to a manufacturer of vegetable old and asking him to pour quantities of oil into the containers was sufficient.

It seems that from the cases examined that appropriation of unascertained goods for the purposes of The Sale of Goods Act 1979 will continue to be a problem for the carefree. In order to be certain that there has been  sufficient appropriation the parties will have to display the clearest of intention that the goods in question are clearly identified, and perhaps  actually placed in the possession of the intended buyer.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Caribbean devision or integration ?

Not surprisingly the comments made by the Trinidad and Tobago Primes Minister continues to making headline around the Caribbean. The T&T PM said in a press conference following the passage of hurricane Tomas that any assistance given to other Caribbean countries must be of some benefit benefit to Trinidad. This time its reported on the Antigua news portal that the Opposition Leader in Antigua has become her latest critic.

Readers of the article will find comments from regional politicians and even the Opposition Leader in Trinidad. Interestingly, one St Lucian national said she has stopped consuming food produced in Trinidad. Is it necessary to take such a drastic position? maybe its not but whatever reaction is taken the fact remains that what was said by the Trinidad and Tobago PM was surely out of place and threatens the process of Caribbean integration. If readers wish to follow this issue any further the link is posted below.

Six Shut Prisons and Sentencing

The British Government intends to reduce the  number of prison cells  by 5,000 and cut up to 10,000 Staff. This is according to the The Times front page Story of today. Sentencing  overhaul  is the conduit the Government intends to use to achieve its objective. The plan seems to be all apart of the governments intention to reduce public spending. Interestingly, according to the report apart of this plan includes sending mentally ill inmates to NHS unit and sending foreign offender home to serve their sentence.

Wisdom would suggest that mentally ill patients  should never spend a day in prison in the first place. On the other hand it seems unfair that persons who may have become new to a life of crime in Britain to be sent home. Perhaps what is needed is investment in social programs that seek to develop stable families, promote positive community activities and a radical reform of the type of music and television programs youngsters are exposed to.

In the mean time it seems that there must be a quick fix to the Governments financial situation. Whatever the Government finally decides it would be wise if it recognizes that  reforming sentencing alone will not solve the problem of crime, much less effectively reduce expense.



Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Trinidad and Tobago

The recent remarks of  Kamla Persad-Bissessor, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago should be condemned by all civilized and intelligent people in the Caribbean. The Trinidad PM found it necessary to publicly state that any support it will lend to other Caribbean Islands affected by the the passage of Hurricane Tomas must be of benefit to Trinidad. Perhaps her judgment may have been clouded by the fact that her country has never been hit by any serious hurricane. In St Lucia it is estimated that five people died and several others missing. the damage exceed millions of US dollars. Yet, such a senseless utterance.

Trinidad enjoys the wealth of its Oil and other natural resources but it must not forget that not long ago Guyana and Jamaica enjoyed the same blessings. However, years later, citizens in those country flee to other smaller Caribbean nations to seek a better standard of living. The very simple point is that the Caribbean's survival depends upon its people seeing themselves as one and being ready to come to the aid of each other in times of disaster.

Written in support of Caribbean integration

Monday, 1 November 2010

The CIF Contract

CIF contracts are standard for contracts used in international trade. According to Lord Wright in Ross T Smyth & Co Ltd v T D Bailey, Son and Co Ltd, the initials CIF stipulates that the price paid for the goods includes; their cost, insurance and freight cost. These costs are borne by the seller who must also appropriate goods that conform to the contract, secure a bill of lading covering the goods and a policy of marine insurance. The sellers duty is complete when he delivers these documents to the buyer.

The CIF is often compared to its counterpart Free on Board (FOB), however CIF is noted as being more advantageous to users.
Some of these advantages will be looked at. A very brief look will also be taken of the disadvantages.

The Advantages

1. The buyer is assured of the final cost of the goods.
2. He is able to raise money on the documents, for example, he may use the bill of lading which represents      title to the goods as security at the bank
3.The buyer also need not worry about lost or damage to the goods while in transit because they are insured
4. Because CIf is a standard form contract the buyer saves money because he does not have to employ a lawyer to negotiate and draft each new contract.

1. CIF contract requires strict compliance, for example, if the contract states a date for tendering, failure to observe this date will allow the buyer to refuse accepting the documents even though he suffers no lost
2. The seller bears no responsibility to ensure that the documents arrive before the vessel. this results is delay and has accordingly results in a search for faster ways of transferring these documents.

The CIF will continue to facilitate seaborne commerce for a very long time however it will be interesting to see how the Internet age affects its operation.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Will child labour ever end ?

Perhaps the single most disgrace to the human race is the fact that child labour is still practiced worldwide. A child according to Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of a Child 1989 is anyone under the age of eighteen years unless in the particular jurisdiction he attains the age of majority earlier. This convention  has been  singed by most Nations with a view to stopping child labour. Yet the practice continues. In India the Penal Court considers a child to be anyone below the age of twelve. Similar laws exists in many other countries including Bangladesh and some parts of Africa. The reality is that until nations become serious about tackling the issue many more generations of children will continue to be subject to this form of abuse.

The question therefore is whether we can truly say that Nations are serious about putting an end to child labour? In this piece a look will be taken at two International Conventions that were intended to finally put an end to the practice. these conventions are, The International Labour Organization Minimum Age Convention No 138 of 1973 and the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of the Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. the former was intended to to set a minimum age at which a child could enter employment and recognize the child's rights as sacrosanct. Unfortunately Article 2 of that convention  though accepting that eighteen years as an acceptable age for work likely to be hazardous to the child failed to deal adequately with he issue. This reveals itself in the reality that minimum age for the purposes of that Article may be attained earlier than eighteen. It is not surprising therefore that in 2007 the United Nations Children Fund reported that in Malaysia children spend up to seventeen hours per day working on rubber plantations exposed to snake and insect bite. The report further noted that in Portugal children 12 years old were working in the construction industry.

Article 1 of the latter notes that its purpose is to combat sexual exploitation and abuse of children, protect the rights of  child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. The convention adds to a long list of commitments undertaken by European Governments. In Britain in particular, Sexual exploitation of children is taken very seriously, yet A Gilbert and C Moore recently suggests  that although in the last ten years much has been done  to combat the issue, the road to curbing child sexual exploitation seems endless.

These conventions form a long list other international efforts to combat child labour and abuse but it seems that these problems will never be overcome. Perhaps the most shameful piece of information that was discovered  during  the investigation to write this post is that there is suggestions that most of the produce of child labour eventually end up on the shelves of stores in the  nations that lead the fight to end child labour.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


Dear Followers,
 I wish to express my gratitude to you for habitually reading my posts. It has been my pleasure writing and its my intend to continue researching and shearing my findings with you. Over the next few days I will share with you, pieces of work that has been keeping me busy. 

Please keep on following and watch out for these posts 


Thursday, 21 October 2010


This post does not in any way represent my personal feelings on the issue but only a reaction to an earlier conversation.

Religion has always been a contentious issue. The Bible records several incidents of conflict arising from peoples choice in what they wish to believe. Even today the fight continues, Christians war against Muslims while practices that have long been condemned are now recognized. Perhaps what is most interesting is how many of us accept a religious practice without looking into its history. In the Caribbean for example, people attend churches where at one time their fore parents were human vehicles that transported their masters and had to wait far away from the building while their masters prayed to God.

Millions of people all around the world sing "Amazing Grace" without any knowledge of its history. A song that  was conceived on a slave ship. Muslims sometimes kill their brothers and sisters in the name of religion.Others rather an animals survive than feeding starving people with its meat. In all these practices followers are though not to question but accept by faith.

Faith, however, simply means believe without proof.

Feel free to investigate and comment

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


In my last post I made mention of the 52nd meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. During that meeting the Prime Minister of St Lucia criticized  the ruling of the World Trade Organization Dispute Panel, in the case brought by the American Government against the European Union, for offering African, Pacific and Caribbean producers guaranteed prices for their banana in contravention of WTO rules .

These allegations moved me to make further enquirers.What was reveled was rather interesting. I stumbled across a small book, titled; "The No-Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade". In this book, David Ransom suggests that not long before the "wars" broke the then President of the US had revived large cash donations by a banana corporation operating in the US. A revelation I found rather interesting. It immediately caused me to reflect on the words spoken by the St Lucian PM,  "Far from providing reassurance of the final demise of the law of the jungle in world trade, the ruling leaves the lingering suspicion that might will still always be right"

Friday, 15 October 2010

Fair trade

The issues of trade and fair trade has sparked debate among academics and government officials all around the world. Indeed the prime minister of St. Lucia  has accused the United States of causing the death of the Caribbean banana trade during his contribution the 52nd General Assembly of the united nations, Similarly the Antigua and Barbuda government is currently engaged in legal battles with the United States government before the World Trade Organization Dispute Pannel. Again the United States is accused of engaging in unfair and illegal trade practices in spite being one of the main campaigners of fair and free trade.

The issue of fair trade enjoys an almost clean bill of health in Britain where supermarket giants such as Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury boast of being friends of fair trade. Without any surprise some farmers claim that fair trade ambitions in Britain survives at the cost of their livelihood.
It is evident therefore that no matter which side of the fence one sits fair trade and
more importantly international trade will continue to be a sensitive issue.

This short post is intended to stimulate discussion
Please feel free to comment.