Commodities—types of contract and disputes
Produced in partnership with Paul Toms of Quadrant Chambers
Commodities—types of contract and disputes

The following Arbitration practice note Produced in partnership with Paul Toms of Quadrant Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Commodities—types of contract and disputes
  • An introduction to contracts for the sale and purchase of commodities
  • Types of commodities—hard and soft
  • Types of commodities contracts
  • CIF contracts—overview
  • FOB contracts—overview
  • Typical commodities disputes
  • Contracts of affreightment and charterparties
  • Relevant disputes
  • Dispute resolution bodies and arbitration

An introduction to contracts for the sale and purchase of commodities

Contracts for the sale and purchase of commodities lie at the heart of international trade.

A single transaction for the sale of a particular commodity is likely to involve a number of other contracts or commercial transactions including but not limited to:

  1. a contract for the transportation of the commodity by sea and, perhaps, by road and/or rail

  2. a contract of insurance

  3. the execution of a bill or exchange or the opening of a letter of credit or other documentary credit

Many, but not all, disputes arising out of contracts for the sale of commodities and other related contracts will be determined in arbitration. As will be discussed below, many of the bodies that produce standard form contracts or other services for a particular trade or trades also provide arbitration services. For more information on commodities arbitration, see Practice Note: Commodities arbitration—trade associations and arbitration rules.

The focus of this Practice Note is on contracts for the sale of commodities and contracts for the carriage of commodities by sea. It considers:

  1. the division of commodities into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’

  2. types of contracts typically used for the supply of commodities

  3. typical disputes arising under contracts for the supply of commodities

  4. a brief overview of contracts of affreightment and charterparties

  5. dispute resolution bodies

Types of commodities—hard and soft

Hard commodities are

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