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UN Commission on International Trade Law concludes 51st Session in New York

VIENNA/NEW YORK, 16 July (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) celebrated the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention, adopted legislative texts on mediation, business registration and insolvency, and held a round table on technical assistance to law reform during its 51st annual session in New York.

60th Anniversary of the New York Convention

UNCITRAL held a celebratory event at the UN Headquarters to mark the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention. The event, opened by the UN Legal Counsel, provided an opportunity to consider how the mandate of UNCITRAL has contributed to the successful development of the international arbitration framework. In addition to delegations, more than 300 people were invited to participate in the event. It was followed by a reception jointly organized with the International Court of Arbitration (ICC), hosted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and supported by a number of international organizations.

The New York Convention is the cornerstone of international arbitration, allowing the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Ratified by 159 States, its almost universal acceptance is a demonstration of States' strong commitment to the rule of law and represents a step towards better access to justice for economic operators.

Finalization and adoption of texts

New legal framework on international commercial mediation

The creation of a new legal framework for international commercial mediation is a milestone outcome of the session, with the Commission finalizing the draft UN convention on international settlement agreements resulting from mediation (the mediation convention) and adopting the Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements resulting from Mediation (amending the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation of 2002). The purpose of the mediation convention is to allow parties to rely on a mediated settlement agreement and enforce it across borders according to simplified procedures. The Model Law implements the mediation convention, in addition to providing a streamlined procedure for international mediation.

It is expected that this uniform framework will foster the use of international mediation for solving cross border disputes in a peaceful, cost effective and efficient manner. The Commission expressed the wish that the mediation convention will become as successful as the New York Convention.

It is contemplated that the mediation convention, once adopted by the General Assembly later this year, will open for signature at a signing ceremony hosted by the Government of Singapore on 1 August 2019. UN Member States will be invited to join the signing ceremony.

Legislative Guide on Key Principles of a Business Registry

The Commission also adopted a Legislative Guide on Key Principles of a Business Registry, which aims to assist policymakers, and those involved in the design and implementation of business registries, in simplifying and streamlining business registration procedures to facilitate and promote registration of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In many regions of the world, MSMEs continue to operate in the informal sector. Efficient and effective business registries allow easy access to business information, facilitate the search for potential business partners, clients or sources of finance, and reduce risk when entering into business partnerships.

UNCITRAL Model Law on Recognition and Enforcement of Insolvency-Related Judgments

In the area of insolvency law, the Commission adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Recognition and Enforcement of Insolvency-Related Judgments and its Guide to Enactment. By providing a uniform regime that States can enact to facilitate the recognition and enforcement of insolvency-related judgments, the Model Law expands upon and supplements the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency to further assist the conduct of cross-border insolvency proceedings.

Future Work

The Commission discussed a number of topics for possible future work. It gave priority to a proposal to develop an instrument on cross-border issues related to the judicial sale of ships, and agreed to begin work on expedited commercial arbitration.

Transparency Registry

The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) renewed a grant to support the UNCITRAL Transparency Registry for a further two years. The Commission extended its appreciation to OFID, which has been a donor to the Transparency Registry since December 2015, together with the European Union (EU).