Sixth Committee (Legal) — 73rd session

Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its fifty-first session (Agenda item 80)

Documentation

Summary of work

Background (source: A/73/100)

At its twenty-first session, the General Assembly established the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) to promote the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade, and requested the Commission to submit an annual report to the Assembly (resolution 2205 (XXI)). The Commission began its work in 1968. It originally consisted of 29 Member States representing the various geographic regions and the principal legal systems of the world. At its twenty-eighth and fifty-seventh sessions, respectively, the Assembly increased the membership of the Commission from 29 to 36 States (resolution 3108 (XXVIII)) and from 36 to 60 States (resolution 57/20). For the current composition of the Commission, see decisions 67/406 and 70/405 A to 70/405 C.

The Assembly had on its agenda the item entitled “Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law” annually from the twenty-third to the forty-first sessions and has had the item entitled “Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its … session” annually since its forty-second session (resolutions 2421 (XXIII), 2502 (XXIV), 2635 (XXV), 2766 (XXVI), 2928 (XXVII), 3104 (XXVIII), 3108 (XXVIII), 3316 (XXIX), 3494 (XXX), 31/98 to 31/100, 32/145, 33/92, 33/93, 34/142, 34/143, 35/51, 35/52, 36/32, 37/106, 37/107, 38/134, 38/135, 39/82, 40/71, 40/72, 41/77, 42/152, 42/153, 43/165 (United Nations Convention on International Bills of Exchange and International Promissory Notes), 43/166, 44/33, 45/42, 46/56 A and B, 47/34, 48/32 to 48/34, 49/54, 49/55, 50/47, 50/48 (United Nations Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit), 51/161, 51/162 (Model Law on Electronic Commerce adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), 52/157, 52/158 (Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), 53/103, 54/103, 55/151, 56/79, 56/80, 56/81 (United Nations Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade), 57/17, 57/18 (Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), 57/19, 57/20, 58/75, 58/76, 59/39, 59/40, 60/20, 60/21 (United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts), 61/32, 61/33, 62/64, 62/65, 63/120, 63/121, 63/122 (United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea), 64/111, 64/112, 65/21 to 65/24, 66/94 to 66/96, 67/89, 67/90, 68/106 to 68/109, 69/115, 69/116 (United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration), 70/115, 71/135 to 71/138, 72/113 and 72/114).

At its seventy-second session, the Assembly allocated the item to the Sixth Committee, where statements in the debate were made by the Chair of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and by 25 delegations (see A/C.6/72/SR.10, 17 and 21).

Consideration at the seventy-third session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 15th, 32nd and 34th meetings, on 16 October and 2 and 6 November 2018 (see A/C.6/73/SR.15, 32 and 34). For its consideration of the item, the Committee had before it the report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its fifty-first session (A/73/17).

At the 15th meeting, on 16 October, the Chair of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law at its fifty-first session introduced the report of the Commission on the work of its fifty-first session (A/73/17).

Statements were made by the representatives of El Salvador (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)), the European Union (also on behalf of its member States) (the candidate countries Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, aligned themselves with the statement), Austria, Peru, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Colombia, Belarus, Thailand, Mexico, Israel, El Salvador, the Russian Federation, Libya, the Sudan, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Viet Nam, Honduras, Malaysia, the United States of America, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Algeria.

Delegations generally expressed support for the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and commended it for the progress made during its fifty-first session. The advancements made in the various working groups was noted, and support was generally expressed for their work. In particular, delegations welcomed the finalization of the draft Convention on international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and the Model Law on international commercial mediation and international settlement agreements resulting from mediation. It was observed that these texts adopted by the Commission would be very useful for fulfilling alternative mechanisms for amicable dispute settlement while contributing to the development of international trade.

Delegations also generally welcomed the finalization and adoption of the Legislative Guide on key principles of a business registry as well as the Model Law on recognition and enforcement of insolvency‑related judgments and its Guide to Enactment. In particular, the amendments made to the Legislative Guide on key principles of a business registry were praised for the provision concerning equal rights of women in the access to registration services, as well as for other provisions fostering the establishment of gender-neutral business registration frameworks.

In relation to future work, several delegations highlighted their interest in various aspects of the work the working groups. In relation to the ongoing broad mandate of Working Group III concerning the possible reform of investor-State dispute settlement, delegations noted the value of the Commission’s ability to bring together a wide variety of positions in an inclusive manner. The view was expressed that proposed reforms to the investor-State dispute settlement system would be needed to make it a fair, legitimate and self-contained system. A number of delegations noted that, where dispute resolution involved public matters, a multilateral approach and a standing body were best suited to address all issues of concern identified. Other delegations, however, underlined the need for a cautious and balanced approach. In their view, any reform should be based on wide consensus and objective analysis of existing mechanisms, while also taking legal relationships and regional specifics into account; it would thus be premature, before completing such analysis, to work on proposals to create new international institutions, including judicial bodies. Several delegations underlined the importance of following the work sequence stipulated in the mandate of Working Group III, without prejudice to the outcome, and renewed their intention to conduct discussions in an inclusive and transparent manner.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   15th meeting (16 October 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Video   32nd meeting (2 November 2018, 10:00am – 11:30am)

Video   34th meeting (6 November 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 32nd meeting, on 2 November, the representative of Austria, on behalf of Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Sweden, Thailand and Ukraine, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on the work of its fifty-first session” (A/C.6/73/L.11). At the same meeting, the representative of Austria announced that Mexico, the Russian Federation, Seychelles and Switzerland had joined in sponsoring the draft resolution. At the 34th meeting, on 6 November, the representative of Austria announced that Serbia and Spain had also joined in sponsoring the draft resolution.

At the 32nd meeting, on 2 November, the representative of Austria, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced three further draft resolutions, entitled “United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation” (A/C.6/73/L.12), “Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law” (A/C.6/73/L.13), and “Model Law on Recognition and Enforcement of Insolvency-Related Judgments of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law” (A/C.6/73/L.14).

At its 34th meeting, on 6 November, the Committee adopted all four draft resolutions (A/C.6/73/L.11, A/C.6/73/L.12, A/C.6/73/L.13 and A/C.6/73/L.14) without a vote. The representative of Singapore made a statement in explanation of position after the adoption of draft resolution A/C.6/73/L.12.

Under the terms of the first draft resolution (A/C.6/73/L.11), the General Assembly would, inter alia, commend the Commission for the finalization of the draft convention on international settlement agreements resulting from mediation, as well as for the finalization and adoption of the Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, the Legislative Guide on Key Principles of a Business Registry, and the Model Law on Recognition and Enforcement of Insolvency-Related Judgments and its Guide to Enactment.

With the second draft resolution (A/C.6/73/L.12), the General Assembly would adopt the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, contained in the annex to the resolution, and it would authorize a ceremony for the opening for signature of the Convention on 7 August 2019 in Singapore, recommending that the Convention be known as the “Singapore Convention on Mediation”.

The third draft resolution (A/C.6/73/L.13) relates specifically to the Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation. Under its terms, the General Assembly would, inter alia, recommend that all States give favourable consideration to the Model Law when revising or adopting legislation relevant to mediation, bearing in mind the desirability of uniformity of the law of mediation procedures and the specific needs of international commercial mediation practice.

With the fourth draft resolution (A/C.6/73/L.14), relating to the Model Law on Recognition and Enforcement of Insolvency-Related Judgments, the General Assembly would, inter alia, recommend that all States give favourable consideration to the Model Law when revising or adopting legislation relevant to insolvency, bearing in mind the need for internationally harmonized legislation governing and facilitating instances of cross-border insolvency.

This agenda item will be considered at the seventy-fourth session (2019).

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