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Faced with a world of multiple overlapping normative communities and jurisdictions, law often seeks universal rules and harmonization regimes. Such rules and regimes offer to tame pluralism through the imposition of common codes of conduct. The 1980 Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is a useful example of this phenomenon. Arising from harmonization efforts dating back at least to the 1920s, the CISG purports to solve the problem of jurisdictional overlap and inconsistency in the application of domestic law to cross-border commercial transactions. To its back-ers, the CISG addresses intractable problems of legal uncertainty and forum shopping, creating a stable global law of trade. Thus, the CISG resolutely seeks uniformity, and those most committed to the treaty and its implementation tend to see any inconsistency in application as a problem to be solved rather than a necessary feature of how even a harmonization regime must operate in a multivariate word. This brief article takes the opposite approach, suggesting some ways in which legal pluralism inevitably creeps into the CISG regime, and treating such areas of pluralism as a reality that will never (and perhaps should never) disappear completely.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2016-7; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-7

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