For information only – not an official document

30 May 2022

25 years of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency

VIENNA, 30 May (UN Information Service) – This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency adopted by UNCITRAL on 30 May 1997.

The text is designed to assist States to deal more effectively and efficiently with cross-border insolvencies by enabling: (a) the direct access to courts by foreign insolvency representatives and foreign creditors; (b) expedient recognition of foreign insolvency proceedings; (c) the provision of timely and effective relief to assist foreign insolvency proceedings; (d) coordination of concurrent proceedings with respect to the same debtor; and (e) cooperation between and among courts and between and among insolvency representatives. This is achieved respecting differences in domestic procedural laws and without interfering into substantive insolvency law.

Fifty one States in a total of 55 jurisdictions have enacted the Model Law, with additional jurisdictions using it for reference when drafting their laws.  

The Model Law is supplemented by two more recent UNCITRAL model laws in the area of insolvency law: the Model Law on Recognition and Enforcement of Insolvency-Related Judgments with Guide to Enactment (2018) and the Model Law on Enterprise Group Insolvency with Guide to Enactment (2019). Recently published guidance materials explain how those two model laws could be enacted together with, or in addition, to the 1997 text and are available in all 6 official UN languages: العربية, 中文, English, Français, Русский, Español.

The uniform interpretation and application of the Model Law, important for achieving its objectives, has been assisted by the case law on the Model Law collected in CLOUT, the reporting system for case law on UNCITRAL texts. The Digest of Case Law on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, published in 2021, organizes the case law by each article of the Model Law for easier reference by users. This Digest is available in the six UN languages: العربية, 中文, English, Français, Русский, Español.

The Model Law-related case law has been presented also in the “UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: The Judicial Perspective,” from a judge’s perspective.  Updates to the 2013 edition of that publication were approved by UNCITRAL Working Group V (Insolvency Law) at its 60th session in April 2022 and will be before UNCITRAL at its upcoming annual session. The publication of the updated edition is expected to be available in 2023. 

The Model Law is also relevant to the current work of Working Group V (Insolvency Law) on civil asset tracing and recovery and applicable law in insolvency proceedings. For more information on those projects, visit the official webpage of the Working Group: العربية, 中文, English, Français, Русский, Español.


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, please contact:

José Angelo Estrella Faria 
Principal Legal Officer and Head, Legislative Branch 
UNCITRAL Secretariat 
Email: joseangelo.estrella-faria[at]