Report from WGI (MSMEs), by Bryce Williams

From 16-20 October 2017, UNCITRAL Working Group I (MSMEs) met in Vienna to try and finalise its work on a legislative guide relating to business registries.  The guide will form one pillar of its ongoing work in reducing legal obstacles faced by micro, small and medium enterprises, and facilitating the entry of these enterprises into the formal economy.

Observing the dynamics of the WGI in this crucial phase was a fascinating experience – from both a substantive and procedural perspective.  The Working Group had to grapple with the guide’s approach to a number of important, contemporary challenges including the potential of distributed ledger / blockchain technology, and the importance of measuring and promoting women’s participation in MSMEs.  Given the topic has been under consideration since 2014, the continuing relevance of the guide beyond its formal adoption by the Commission will be an important measure of its success.

Naturally, extracting a consensus from hundreds of legal technocrats from all over the world, each with their own legal backgrounds, prejudices and languages, is a challenge.  Key to this challenge is the chair of the Working Group (who is primarily tasked with the job of herding cats) – in this instance, a role performed ably by Professor Maria Malaguti of Italy.

Thankfully, the journey is nearly at an end and the fruits of the Working Group’s labours will soon percolate across the world.  The next challenge? A uniform limited liability entity designed specifically for the needs of MSMEs.

By Bryce Williams: bryce.d.williams@gmail.com

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Call for Papers: UNCITRAL Macau Conference, 11-12 December 2017 

From the Regional Centre:

We are glad to inform you that the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific and the Faculty of Law, University of Macau, will jointly host UNCITRAL-UM Joint Conference 2017?   titled “?Modernization of National Commercial Laws and the Role of Legal Harmonization in International Commerce” on 11-12 December 2017 in Macau SAR, China.

?Following the three successful conferences held jointly by the secretariat of UNCITRAL, through the Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RCAP), and the University of Macau in 2014 , 2015, and 2016, this year’s Conference will take stock of critical legal issues in four specific tracks focusing on contemporary international, regional and national developments.?

We invite researchers, scholars and practitioners to share their insight opinions and research, and to engage in an international dialogue on these topics at the Conference. The four conference tracks are:

Track 1- Settlement of commercial and investment disputes along the One Belt, One Road: the relevance of UNCITRAL standards.

Track 1a. Harmonizing standards for paperless arbitration (from proceedings to award; the relevance of the UNCITRAL Model Lao on International Commercial Arbitration (1985), with amendments as adopted in 2006, of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules as revised in 2010 and of the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts.

Track 2- Reducing legal obstacles faced by Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in operating in the legally-regulated economy, including establishment and registration, access to credit and insolvency. 

Track 3- UNCITRAL texts on e-commerce and their relevance to implement FTAs and trade facilitation measures

Track 4- Sale of goods, security interests and insolvency: the impact of legal divergence on contract management in complex cross-border supply chain management and financing

We herewith enclose the ‘Call for Papers’ [below] and the ‘Registration Form’ (Free Registration) for your reference. Please kindly disseminate the Call for Papers and the Registration Form widely among your colleagues and academic friends in your own institution and other relevant bodies.

We take pleasure in inviting you to join the conference either as a speaker or delegate, which we believe is critical for the success of the conference. Please mark the dates in your diary and we look forward to receive your registration form.

Further information can be obtained from the Conference Website at: www.umac.mo/fll/umuncitral. If you have any queries or suggestions please feel free to contact us at law.umuncitral@umac.mo. Thank you for your support.

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UN Day Canberra Event, 1 November

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was founded 50 years ago. Its achievements have accompanied the boom in global trade and investment since that time, including in areas such as international arbitration, cross-border insolvency, sale of goods, electronic commerce and secured transactions. UNCITRAL has now taken on a major new mandate to consider the future of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), amongst a range of other work. Where will this lead?

The UN Day Lecture is an initiative of the UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee for Australia (UNCCA). It will be presented around Australia to introduce lawyers, academics and students to the past and future work of UNCITRAL. Admission will be free, but registration is required.

For further information, see the flyer

Register now!

Register now: 6th Asia Pacific ADR Conference, 8-9 November 2017, Seoul

From the Regional Centre: 

The 6th Asia Pacific ADR Conference scheduled for 8 – 9 November 2017 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, is open for registration at the 2017 Seoul ADR Festival website ( http://www.safkcab.com ).
 
This Asia Pacific ADR Conference is the 6th edition of the annual flagship event of the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Jointly hosted with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Korea (MOJ), the Korea Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Seoul International Dispute Resolution Centre (SIDRC), the Conference will highlight various important aspects of international arbitration: 
  
 • Session 1. Innovation by the International Arbitral Institutions 
• Session 2. How to prevent abuse of process in International Arbitration 
• Session 3. New Areas of International Arbitration 
• Session 4. International Investment Dispute Settlement, what perspectives? 
• Session 5. Special Event for the Winter Olympics – New Frontiers in Sports Arbitration

 
Details on the Conference’s programme are available here.   
This is a valuable opportunity for government officials, judiciaries, experts, researchers, scholars and practitioners, from the region and around the world, to exchange insights and views on ADR. 
 
Registration is required for participation in the 6th Asia Pacific ADR Conference. 
We welcome you to register at http://www.safkcab.com/program/ADR/registration.php . 
Registration is free and the deadline for on-line registration is 31 October 2017.

Next Week: 2nd UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Judicial Summit

From the Regional Centre:

The Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is delighted to co-host the 2nd UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Judicial Summit in Hong Kong from 16 to 19 October 2017, with the cooperation and support of the Department of Justice of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (Hong Kong, China), the Judiciary of Hong Kong, China, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and the Asia Pacific Regional Office of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HccH). 

We would be honored if you would join us at the Judicial Conference on International Trade Law, to be inaugurated by Mr. Miguel Serpa Soares, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel. The Conference will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 18 October 2017 under the theme ‘Judicial efficient support to international arbitration, and emerging topics in international arbitration’.

Judges and officials from the HKSAR Government Bureaux and Departments will be able to enjoy complimentary pass.

Please register for the Conference via http://hkaweek.hkiac.org/en/uncitral-asia-pacific-judicial-summit.php. We hope that you will benefit from the expertise of world-renowned experts by joining our Conference.  

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Report on Third Annual UNCCA Seminar, by Suzanne Howarth

Suzanne Howarth, Former Deputy Chair and member of UNCCA prepared a report of the Third Annual UNCITRAL Seminar held at the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in Canberra on 19 May 2017. The report outlines UNCITRAL achievements in 2016 as well as a closer look at the a few of the UNCITRAL working groups:   Group II in relation to arbitration and conciliation; Group IV in relation to electronic commerce and Group VI in relation to security interests.  Suzanne’s report of the Seminar was published in the June 2017 edition of the ACT Law Society Journal, Ethos.

You can read the report here.

Call for papers : UNCITRAL-UM Joint Conference (Abstract Submission by 20 November)

From the Regional Centre:

The UNCITRAL-UM Joint Conference 2017 will be held on 11 and 12 December 2017 in Macau, China. We are now inviting paper proposals/abstracts for review.

The UNCITRAL-UM Joint Conference, themed “Modernization of National Commercial Laws and the Role of Legal Harmonization in International Commerce”, will address critical legal issues in four specific tracks focusing on contemporary international, regional and national developments in the related topics.  This conference is hosted jointly by the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific and the University of Macau.

We invite researchers, scholars and practitioners to share their insightful opinions and important findings of their research related to the conference theme and tracks.  Paper proposals/abstracts are invited on the following tracks :
Track 1. Settlement of commercial and investment disputes along the One Belt, One Road : the relevance of UNCITRAL standards
Track 1a. Harmonizing standards for paperless arbitration (from proceedings to award; the relevance of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985), with amendments as adopted in 2006, of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules as revised in 2010 and of the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts.
Track 2.  Reducing legal obstacles faced by Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in operating in the legally-regulated economy, including establishment and registration, access to credit and insolvency.

Track 3. UNCITRAL texts on e-commerce and their relevance to implement FTAs and trade facilitation measures

Track 4. Sale of goods, security interests and insolvency: the impact of legal divergence on contract management in complex cross-border supply chain management and financing

Details of the Conference and the Call for Papers may be found here.  We very much look forward to your paper proposals/abstracts on the above topics, by 20 November 2017. For submission of paper proposals/abstracts or for enquiries, please contact us at: law.umuncitral@umac.mo.

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