The Hague Conference of 1964 thought that this solution was highly complex and, accepting the recommendation of the Federal Republic of Germany, decided that ULIS should be applied without recourse to conflicts rules. The German delegation proposed that the courts of Contracting States should apply ULIS to all international sales, without more. This proposal was however supplemented by a compromise, viz. the permissible reservation to Art. III by which a Contracting country need apply ULIS only to deals with merchants whose places of business are situated in other Contracting States.
Accordingly, the application of ULIS became unconditional, and [page 514] Art. II categorically precluded recourse to the rules of private international law once ULIS was applied. Since at that time a number of States had already undertaken in conventions to apply the law governing international contracts of sale in conformity with uniform Conflicts rules,
Hence the "uniformity" of the uniform law was undermined at the very outset by allowing recourse to the reservations in Art. II, III and IV. The acceding state could, therefore, in a manner departing from the wording of the Convention, determine when it regarded theother state as "different" (Art. II), make the application of ULIS dependent on conflicts rules (Art. IV), and narrow the sphere of application by applying the uniform law only in respect of another Contracting country (Art. III).
Open Door to the Non-Acceding Countries The German recommendation met the demand for universality and would have advanced the spread of ULIS. The reservations aside, ULIS is part and parcel of the municipal law of the judge, who can apply it even when the country of neither Contracting party has ratified the Convention and even when the forum has no other connection with the transactions.
This is a novel "legal effect" in the law of international conventions. According to the dominant opinion a country can only apply a convention it has ratified to another such country. A foreign convention cannot be forced upon a non-acceding country, nor can its benefits be conferred on a non-signatory. But according to ULIS this difficulty disappears when the acceding country incorporates ULIS into its own domestic law or promulgates it as such (Art. II).
Moreover, consider the following case: the Federal Republic of Germany ratified ULIS with the reservation provided in Art. III: the German courts will not therefore apply ULIS to deals between a German merchant and an alien whose country is not signatory to the Convention. Instead they will look to the German conflicts rule. However, if that rule points to the law of a signatory which ratified, without the Art. III reservation, German courts will still, by a round about way, apply ULIS.
Hence ULIS will have to be applied:
1. between two signatory countries;
2. between a signatory and non-signatory when the forum is in the signatory country; [page 516]
3. between two non-signatories if the forum is in the territory of a signatory;
4. if the country of the forum is a non-signatory, yet in conformity with its conflicts law the law of a signatory has to be applied to the sales contract;
5. if, in conformity with Art. IV of the Convention, the parties stipulate the application of ULIS.
However, even in these cases ULIS cannot be applied:
1. between two countries if either of them has made the reservations in Arts. II, IV or V;
2. between a signatory and non-signatory state if the signatory state has made the reservation in Art. III;
3. if the Contracting parties preclude the application of ULIS (Art. III).
This multifariousness calls into doubt the success of ULIS as legislation purporting to regulate international sales under a uniform rule.