For information only - not an official document

21 July 2016

UN Commission on International Trade Law Concludes 49th Session in New York

VIENNA/NEW YORK 21 July (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted texts on security interests, online dispute resolution and arbitration during its 49 th annual session in New York. The session was opened by the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares. It included a briefing on the rule of law and panel discussions on practices of States in the implementation of multilateral treaties emanated from the work of UNCITRAL, and on practical measures to facilitate access to justice in the commercial law context, in particular by micro, small and medium enterprises.

Finalization and adoption of texts

During the session, the Commission adopted the following texts: the UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions (see press release UNIS/L/233); Technical Notes on Online Dispute Resolution (see press release UNIS/L/235); and the second edition of the UNCITRAL Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings (see press release UNIS/L/234). In addition, the Commission endorsed a guidance note on strengthening United Nations support to States, upon their request, to implement sound commercial law reforms (see press release UNIS/L/236).

Future work

With the completion of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions, the Commission confirmed that the working group on security interests should complete a guide to enactment for the Model Law. It also agreed that work on reducing the legal obstacles faced by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises should continue.

In addition, the Commission confirmed that work should continue on the preparation of an instrument dealing with the enforcement of international commercial settlement agreements. It decided to further consider the topics of concurrent arbitration proceedings and a code of ethics/conduct for arbitrators at its next session.

The Commission reaffirmed the mandates given to the working group on electronic commerce to complete the preparation of a model law on electronic transferable records and to the working group on insolvency to continue work on the topics of (a) facilitation of cross-border insolvency of multinational enterprise groups; (b) obligations of directors of enterprise group companies in the period approaching insolvency; and (c) recognition and enforcement of insolvency-related judgments.

In addition, the Commission requested the UNCITRAL Secretariat to explore the possibility of updating the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Privately Financed Infrastructure Projects. It also requested the Secretariat to review how an UNCITRAL project on the reform of the investor-State dispute settlement system might be carried out if it were to be approved at a forthcoming session as a topic of future work.

The Commission approved a joint proposal by the secretariats of UNCITRAL, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law ("Unidroit") on the preparation of an explanatory text in the area of international commercial contract law (with a focus on sales).

Finally, the Commission agreed that the 50 th anniversary of the establishment of UNCITRAL should be celebrated at a Congress to be held during the Commission's 50 th session, from 4 to 6 July 2017. The Congress will consider a broad range of ways to support cross-border commerce, including research topics and legislative development, and will also discuss the work of other organizations in international trade law reform and coordination of these activities.


The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria , and maintains a website at

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For information contact:

Timothy Lemay
Principal Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
Email: timothy.lemay[at]