2020 UNCITRAL Working Group Session Dates

The following dates have been set for upcoming UNCITRAL Working Group sessions, including UNCITRAL’s 53rd session:

  • 6-17 July 2020
  • 7-11 October 2019, Vienna
  • 23-27 March 2020, New York
  • 23 -27 September 2019, Vienna
  • 3-7 February 2020, New York
  • 25-29 November 2019, Vienna
  • 6-9 April 2020, New York
  • 18-22 November 2019, Vienna
  • 20-24 April 2020, New York

A Special Invitation for Membership (UN Day 2019 Lecture Attendees)

As we close out our fifth year in Australia, we’re proud to look back, celebrate our progress, and invite you to join us for the next year.

As the first National UNCITRAL Coordination Committe of its kind, UNCCA was founded in 2014 by Sydney barrister, Tim Castle. We’ve enjoyed tremendous growth since then. UNCCA is today supported by a membership base of over 60 members, which include esteemed members of the judiciary, leading academics, engaged legal and non-legal professionals, and a diverse student base made up from various Australian universities.

UNCCA today continues to provide the following benefits for its member base, including:

  • opportunites to attend UNCITRAL Working Group meetings as observers;
  • up-to-date direct reports on UNCITRAL Working Group sessions as prepared personally by attendees;
  • discounted attendee rates for UNCCA events, includingUNCCA’s flagship May Seminar and UN Day Lecture series; and
  • exposure to directly circulated opportunities for participation at numerous UNCITRAL conferences and symposia in Asia and the Pacific;
  • opportunities for further engagement with UNCITRAL in direct areas of interest.

In 2019, five of our members were appointed by the Australian Attorney-General’s Department as CLOUT National Correspondents, UNCITRAL’s leading legal database of worldwide court decisions and arbitral awards on UNCITRAL texts.

UNCCA is considered to be the leading resource in providing these opportunities for engagement and for staying up to date with international trade laws developments through our regular Newsletters (see the latest edition here).

Australian lawyers and academics have much to contribute to the development of harmonized trade laws in our region and globally. UNCCA provides the vehicle for anyone who is interested in one of the nine key UNCITRAL areas to participate in that contribution.

In a special invitation for membership, UNCCA is pleased to invite all UN Day Lecture attendees to join us as members (either as Fellows or Associates). All UN Day Lecture attendees will benefit from an extended membership duration, valid until 1 January 2021.  

To become an UNCCA Fellow, please visit here.

To become an UNCCA Associate, please visit here.

We look forward to welcoming you to UNCCA.

UN Day Lectures 2019: Recap and Lecture Materials

UNCCA UN Day Lecture 2019 Recap by Aidan O’Callaghan

 Speakers and Attendees in Hobart

On 23-24 October 2019, UNCCA held its third United Nations Day Lecture series. Lectures were held in the capital city of nearly every Australian State and Territory, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The Lectures reflected on 25 years of UNCTIRAL Cross Border Insolvency Law Reform.

The UN Day Lectures brought insight into the history, utility, domestic relevance and future of cross-border insolvency (‘CBI’) law. UNCITRAL’s role in reforming CBI law over the past quarter-century has resulted in the development of key instruments which continue to guide legal and commercial practice worldwide. Particularly, the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency (1997) has been adopted in 46 States, including in Australia as the Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008 (Cth). The UNCITRAL framework enables recognition and cooperation between domestic and foreign courts for insolvency proceedings which cross international borders.

UN Day was generously hosted Australia-wide by the Federal Court of Australia. This year’s Lectures attracted over 200 attendees, including students, academics, lawyers and public servants – a testament to the growing domestic recognition of the important role played by international trade law. Likewise, speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, including academics, lawyers, judicial officers, and policy makers; each brought a unique insight into the role of UNCITRAL’s CBI framework and its implications for the study and practice of international trade law, particularly in Australia.

In Adelaide, Professor Christopher Symes of the University of Adelaide provided the Lecture, tracing the idea and application of international insolvency law in Australia back to as early as 1886, and in comparison, provided detailed insight into the utility of the UNCITRAL Law today. The event was chaired by Justice Anthony Besanko of the Federal Court, and additional commentary provided by Brendon Roberts QC, of the Adelaide Bar.

The Brisbane Lecture was presented by Adjunct Professor Rosalind Mason of QUT, who provided a useful exposition of UNCITRAL’s resources and CBI instruments, as well as insight into the theoretical framework used by the Model Law. Additional commentary was provided by Scott Butler of McCullough Robertson, who gave a practical explanation of some of the Model Law’s most salient technical features. The Lecture was chaired by Justice Roger Derrington.

Canberra Speakers: Prue Bindon, Prof. Michael Murray, and Judge Dr Warwick Neville

UN Day in Canberra included a Lecture from Adjunct Professor Michael Murray of QUT who contrasted the UNCITRAL CBI framework’s sophisticated approach with the principles of comity and reciprocity previously relied upon in international relations, before examining some of the framework’s technical details, and UNCITRAL’s ongoing work. The Lecture was chaired by Judge Dr Warwick Neville of the Federal Circuit Court, with additional commentary provided by Prue Bindon of Key Chambers.

In Hobart, Tim Castle of the Sydney Bar and a former Chair of UNCCA referred to the importance of having a sound cross-border insolvency framework to reduce transaction costs associated with legal risk, as an accompaniment to the growth in world trade and global finance. Paul Cook, a former President of ARITA provided the commentary, and remarked on impact for Tasmanian industry and employees of global insolvencies. The Hobart session was well attended by over 30 practitioners, academics and students and was chaired by Judge Barbara Baker of the Federal Magistrates Court.

In Melbourne, the UN Day Lecture was provided by Stewart Maiden QC of the Victorian Bar, who highlighted the necessary imperfections of cross-border insolvency law in Australia, as revealed by recent case law, and the ongoing role of UNCITRAL in addressing them. In his commentary, Dr Neil Hannan of Thomson Geer highlighted the internationality of UNCITRAL’s CBI framework, noting the need for domestic authorities to properly balance the law’s features, as revealed in Australia through the example of Maritime Stays and Claims. The Lecture was chaired by Justice David O’Callaghan of the Federal Court.

Justice Katrina Banks-Smith Delivering the Lecture in Perth

The Perth Lecture was presented by Justice Katrina Banks-Smith of the Federal Court, with commentary from Julie Taylor of Francis Burt Chambers. Notably, the Lecture was chaired by UNCCA’s own Chair, Justice Neil McKerracher, also of the Federal Court.

Sydney Speakers: Justice Jacqueline Gleeson, Jenny Clift, and Scott Atkins

The Sydney Lecture was presented by Scott Atkins of Norton Rose Fulbright, who gave a unique insight into the role of the Australian legal profession in the UNCITRAL’s CBI work, and how the laws have been received and implemented domestically. Additional insight into the practical hurdles of negotiating UNCITRAL texts, as well as likely future developments of CBI law was provided by commentator Jenny Clift, the Former Secretary of UNCITRAL’s Working Group V. The Lecture was chaired by Justice Jacqueline Gleeson of the Federal Court.

UNCCA is thankful to all the speakers who presented at UN Day 2019; their contribution to the academic and legal practice of trade law in Australia cannot be understated. Further, without the interest and contribution of all who attended UN Day 2019, UNCCA would not be able to continue its role of promoting international trade law in Australia.

As a token of thanks, UNCCA is pleased to offer all non-members who attended UN Day 2019 an extended membership offer. As such, any membership registrations (Fellowship or Associateship) made by attendees before the end of the year, will be honoured until 1 January 2021.

We look forward to seeing you at UNCCA’s next event!

With immense gratitude to the speakers and commentators from the UN Day Lectures, UNCCA is pleased to share the following material:



UNCITRAL Colloquium on Civil Asset Tracing and Recovery (6 December 2019, Vienna)

At its fifty-second session, in 2019, the Commission requested the Secretariat to organize a colloquium, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations, to further clarify and refine various aspects of the Commission’s possible work on civil asset tracing and recovery, for consideration by the Commission at its fifty-third session, in 2020. The Commission was of the view that the colloquium should consider the elements of a possible toolkit on civil asset tracing and recovery and collect more information on civil law jurisdictions practices. The colloquium should also: (a) examine both criminal and civil law tracing and recovery with a view to better delineating the topic while benefitting from available tools; (b) consider tools developed for insolvency law and for other areas of law; and (c) discuss proposed asset tracing and recovery tools and other international instruments (A/74/17, para. 203). That decision followed the consideration by the Commission of the proposals submitted by the United States of America (A/CN.9/996) and (A/CN.9/WG.V/WP.154).

The Colloquium on Civil Asset Tracing and Recovery will be held in Vienna on 6 December 2019. The meetings will take place from 9:30-12:30 and 14:00-17:00 in Boardroom D of the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

The Colloquium is restricted to professionals who deal with asset tracing and recovery, in particular in insolvency proceedings. The Colloquium will be conducted on an informal basis. Interpretation in the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) will be available.

Participation is by invitation. All eligible and interested participants are invited to communicate their interest to the UNCITRAL secretariat at uncitral@un.orgDelegates and observers to the 56th session of Working Group V (Insolvency Law) are automatically invited to the Colloquium. 

Those eligible and interested to speak are requested to identify a topic they are proposing to cover and attach an outline of issues they intend to address at the Colloquium (the outline should be of no longer than 2 pages).

No fees are charged for participation at the Colloquium but participants are expected to cover travel and accommodation costs and make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

To ensure comprehensive and balanced deliberations and outcomes, scholars and practitioners from different legal systems of the world and of developed and developing countries are encouraged to attend the Colloquium. In addition, the United Nations is mindful of gender balance, and women are therefore particularly encouraged to attend the Colloquium and present their candidatures as speakers.

The report of the Colloquium will be before the Commission at its fifty-third session (New York, July 2020) and upon its issuance will be made available on the web page of the Commission.