21 May 2008

Australia Adopts Legislation Based on
UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency

Fifteenth Country to Adopt Legislation Based on the Model Law

VIENNA, 21 May (UN Information Service) - With the passage through Parliament of its Cross Border Insolvency Act 2008, Australia becomes the fifteenth jurisdiction to adopt legislation based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency.

The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, adopted in 1997, is designed to assist States to equip their insolvency laws with a modern, harmonized and fair framework to address more effectively instances of cross-border insolvency. Those instances include cases where the insolvent debtor has assets in more than one State or where some of the creditors of the debtor are not from the State where the insolvency proceeding is taking place. The Model Law respects the differences among national procedural laws and does not attempt a substantive unification of insolvency law. It offers solutions that help in several modest but significant ways. These include the following: foreign assistance for an insolvency proceeding taking place in the enacting State; foreign representatives' access to courts of the enacting State; recognition of foreign proceedings; cross-border cooperation; and coordination of concurrent proceedings.

The Model Law was drafted by the UNCITRAL's Working Group on Insolvency Law, approved and adopted by the Commission in May 1997 and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1997.

The Model Law has now been adopted by the British Virgin Islands (2005), Colombia (2006), Eritrea, Great Britain (2006), Japan (2000), Mexico (2000), Montenegro (2002), New Zealand (2006), Poland (2003), Republic of Korea (2006), Romania (2003), Serbia (2004), South Africa (2000), and United States of America (2005).


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 www.uncitral.org.

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For information contact:

Jenny Clift, Senior Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
E-mail: jenny.clift@uncitral.org