Press Releases

    Background Release

    UNIS/L/89
    14 June 2002

    UN COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW TO HOLD THIRTY-FIFTH SESSION IN NEW YORK, 17-28 JUNE 2002

    Consideration of new Model Legislation on International Commercial Conciliation

    VIENNA, 14 June (UN Information Service) – The single major text scheduled to be put before the Commission for finalisation and adoption at its thirty-fifth session is the draft Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation (‘the Model Law’) which 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 Model Law has been a major topic of work of the Working Group on Arbitration since its thirty-third session held from 20 November to 1 December 2000.

    The Commission will also consider progress reports from 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 Session will be convening from 17 to 28 June in New York.

    The draft Model Law

    The draft Model Law was developed in the context of recognition of the increasing use of conciliation as a method for settling commercial disputes. The term "conciliation" is used in the draft Model Law as a broad notion referring to proceedings in which a person or a panel of persons assists the parties in their attempt to reach an amicable settlement of their dispute. Conciliation is being increasingly used in dispute settlement practice in various parts of the world, including regions where, until a decade or two ago, it was not commonly used. As well, the use of conciliation is becoming a dispute resolution option preferred and promoted by courts and government agencies as well as in community and commercial spheres. Alongside this trend, various regions of the world have actively promoted conciliation as a method of dispute settlement, and the development of national legislation on conciliation in various countries has given rise to discussions calling for internationally harmonised legal solutions designed to facilitate conciliation.

    The draft Model Law was also designed to provide uniform rules in respect of the conciliation process. In many countries, the legal rules affecting conciliation are set out in various pieces of legislation and take differing approaches on issues such as confidentiality and evidentiary privilege and exceptions thereto. Uniformity on such topics helps provide greater integrity and certainty in the conciliation process. The benefits of uniformity are magnified in cases involving conciliation via the Internet where the applicable law may not be self-evident.

    The draft Model Law is based on the principle of party autonomy providing maximum flexibility for parties in designing their dispute settlement process. Although it is limited in application to international commercial conciliation, States enacting it may broaden its scope to also cover domestic conciliation. Article 1 delineates the scope of the draft Model Law and defines conciliation generally and its international application specifically. These are the types of provisions that would generally be found in legislation to determine the range of matters the draft Model Law is intended to cover. Article 2 provides guidance on the interpretation of the Model Law. Article 3 expressly provides that all the provisions of the draft Model Law may be varied by party agreement except for article 2 and paragraph 3 of article 7. Articles 4 through 12 cover procedural aspects of the conciliation. These provisions will have particular application to the circumstances where the parties have not adopted rules governing conciliation, and thus are designed to be in the nature of default provisions. They are also intended to assist parties in dispute that may have defined dispute resolution processes in their agreement, in this context acting as a supplement to their agreement. The remaining provisions of the draft Model Law (articles 12-15) address post-conciliation issues to avoid uncertainty resulting from an absence of statutory provisions governing these issues.

    Membership

    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
    www.uncitral.org

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