Round-up of Session

1 July 2002

UN Commission on International Trade Law Concludes Thirty-Fifth Session in New York

Adoption of New Model Legislation on International Commercial Conciliation

VIENNA, 1 July (UN Information Service) -- The draft Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation ('the Model Law') was the principal topic discussed at the thirty-fifth session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which finished its work in New York on Friday. The Commission adopted the Model Law after completing a review of the provisions. In adopting the draft Model Law the Commission noted the growing importance of conciliation as a method of amicably settling disputes that arise in the context of international commercial relations. The Commission expressed the view that the Model Law will significantly contribute to the establishment of a unified legal framework for the fair and efficient settlement of disputes arising in international commercial relations.

The draft Model Law was prepared by Working Group II on Arbitration. The Commission also looked at the report of the Working Group on Arbitration regarding its other topics of work, such as the interpretation of the writing requirement in the New York Convention and the drafting of a provision on enforcement of interim measures in arbitral proceedings to include in the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Consideration.

The Commission discussed the progress of its five other Working Groups of the Commission Secretariat: Working Group I on privately financed infrastructure projects; Working Group III on Transport Law; Working Group IV on Electronic Commerce; Working Group V on Insolvency Law and Working Group VI on Security Interests. The Commission commended the working groups for the work accomplished to date.

In respect of the Working Group on Transport Law, the Commission considered the its mandate. The Working Group on Transport Law is currently drafting a instrument on transport law ('the draft instrument') which is aimed at modernising the law of carriage, taking into account the latest developments in technology, including electronic commerce, and addressing perceived gaps that exist in existing national and international regimes. The Commission approved the working assumption that the draft instrument should cover door-to-door transport operations, subject to further consideration of the scope of the application of the draft instrument after the Working Group had considered the substantive provisions of the draft instrument and come to a more complete understanding of their functioning in a door-to-door context.

The draft Model Law

The Model Law has been a major topic of the Working Group on Arbitration since its thirty-third session held from 20 November to 1 December 2000. It was brought to its final stage of preparation by the Working Group on Arbitration at its thirty-fifth session in Vienna from 19 to 30 November 2001.

The draft Model Law was drafted over three sessions from November 2000 to November 2001. At the current session the Commission reviewed and adopted the draft Model Law and its draft Guide to Enactment and Use. The Commission requested the Secretary-General to transmit the text of the Model Law, together with the related background material from the current session of the Commission and the Guide to Enactment and Use of the Model Law to Governments and dispute settlement institutions and other interested bodies, such as chambers of commerce. The Guide to Enactment and Use is to be finalised by the Secretariat based on deliberations of the Commission at the current session.

Resolution to strengthen UNCITRAL secretariat

The Commission noted that demands emanating from Member States, in particular developing countries, for UNCITRAL to prepare legal standards in an increasing number of areas had more than doubled the number of major projects on the agenda of the Commission in the year 2001 as compared with previous years. These increased demands were accompanied by the increasing needs for technical assistance, in particular in developing countries. In light of this, the Commission adopted a recommendation requesting that the Secretary-General consider measures to strengthen significantly the UNCITRAL secretariat within the bounds of resources available in the Organisation. It further requested that this strengthening occur, if possible, during the current biennium and, in any case, during the 2004-2005 biennium.


The Commission is composed of thirty-six member States elected by the General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's various geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems. Members of the Commission are elected for terms of six years, the terms of half the members expiring every three years.

Currently the members are as follows: Argentina (alternating annually with Uruguay), Austria, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Fiji, France, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.

For more information visit the web site of the UN Commission on International Trade Law at

* *** *