United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established by the General Assembly in 1966 . In establishing the Commission, the General Assembly recognized that disparities in national laws governing international trade created obstacles to the flow of trade, and it regarded the Commission as the vehicle by which the United Nations could play a more active role in reducing or removing these obstacles.
The General Assembly gave the Commission the general mandate to further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade. The Commission has since come to be the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law.
The Commission is composed of sixty 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.
The Commission has established six working groups to perform the substantive preparatory work on topics within the Commission's programme of work. Each of the working groups is composed of all member States of the Commission.
The six working groups and their current topics are as follows:
Working Group I - Procurement
Working Group II - Arbitration and Conciliation
Working Group III - Online Dispute Resolution
Working Group IV - Electronic Commerce
Working Group V - Insolvency Law
Working Group VI - Security Interests
Texts designed to simplify trade transactions and reduce associated costs are developed by working groups comprising all member States of
UNCITRAL, which meet once or twice per year.
Non-member States and interested international and regional organizations are also invited and can actively contribute to the work
since decisions are taken by consensus, not by vote. Draft texts completed by these working groups are submitted to UNCITRAL for
finalization and adoption at its annual session.
The International Trade Law Division of the United Nations Office of
Legal Affairs provides substantive secretariat services to UNCITRAL, such as conducting research and preparing studies and drafts.
Trade Law Texts
UNCITRAL develops different types of texts to modernize and
harmonize the law of international trade. These texts are generally legislative in nature, such as conventions, model laws and legislative guides, or non-legislative texts such as contractual rules that can be incorporated into commercial contracts and legal guides.
Technical Legislative Assistance
One of UNCITRAL's priorities is providing technical legislative assistance for modernization of trade laws and commercial practices. In addition to promoting understanding of international trade law texts and the benefits they can bring to the expansion of international trade, UNCITRAL assists States to develop the laws required to implement
these legislative texts and commercial associations to promote the use of non-legislative rules.
The Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts system is a collection of court decisions and arbitral awards interpreting UNCITRAL texts. Currently, CLOUT includes case abstracts in the six United Nations languages on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) (Vienna, 1980) and the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985). Other texts will be added as case law becomes available.See more