Professor David Snyder - "The Comparative Law of Global Sales"

Faculty Scholarship Highlight, August 2013

Associate Dean for Scholarship Stephen Vladeck sits down with Associate Professor David Snyder to discuss his recent scholarship.

For David Snyder, professor of law and director of the Business Law Program at American University Washington College of Law, the limits of the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) provide fertile ground for exploring the differing domestic legal regimes that apply to many—if not most—contracts for cross-border exchanges of goods. To that end, Snyder’s forthcoming Oxford University Press coursebook, co-authored with Tulane law professor Martin Davies, offers a first-of-its-kind assessment of “International Transactions in Goods: Global Sales in Comparative Context.”

The book, which is aimed at both domestic and foreign audiences, offers a practical approach , exploring how different legal regimes deal with topics ranging from credit, the logistics of payment, and the realities of transportation, in addition to the core underlying tenets of sales law. In addition to this pervasive real-world approach, as Snyder explains, three particular aspects of the book that are especially novel. The first, which Snyder refers to as “The New Social Contract,” looks at how large Western sellers have sought to control their supply chains to protect the basic human rights of the workers in the developing world who make the products. The second is to include a more textualist interpretive assessment of the CISG—and the implications of such a reading of the treaty—in addition to other interpretive approaches. And the third is a functional and strategic approach to remedies—especially how the difference between civil and common law systems affects remedies for breaches of such international contracts.

The book focuses on French, German, English, and U.S. law, in addition to the CISG itself. In the process, it seeks to combine the practical and the theoretical—to offer generalizations within and across systems, with the goal of enabling students and scholars alike to develop a better feel for how different legal systems and cultures will treat the same business problem. As global markets are becoming increasingly interdependent, the Davies and Snyder coursebook endeavors to arm the next generation of international commercial lawyers with a deeper appreciation for the differences—and, as significantly, the similarities—that characterize the comparative law of international sales.