Each party shall co-operate with the other party when such co-operation may reasonably be expected for the performance of that party's obligations.
A contract is not merely a meeting point for conflicting interests but must also, to a certain extent, be viewed as a common project in which each party must cooperate. This view is clearly related to the principle of good faith and fair dealing (see Article 1.7) which permeates the law of contract, as well as to the obligation to mitigate harm in the event of non-performance (see Article 7.4.8).
The duty of co-operation must of course be confined within certain limits (the provision refers to reasonable expectations), so as not to upset the allocation of duties in the performance of the contract. Although the principal concern of the provision is the duty not to hinder the other party’s performance, there may also be circumstances which call for more active co-operation.
1. A, after contracting with B for the immediate delivery of a certain quantity of oil, buys all the available oil on the spot market from another source. Such conduct, which will hinder B in performing its obligation, is contrary to the duty of co-operation.
2. A, an art gallery in country X, buys a sixteenth century painting from B, a private collector in country Y. The painting may not be exported without a special authorisation and the contract requires B to apply for that permission. B, who has no experience of such formalities, encounters serious difficulties with the application whereas A is familiar with such procedures. In these circumstances, and notwithstanding the contractual provision, A can be expected to give at least some assistance to B.