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UNCITRAL adopts electronic transferable records model law

18 July 2017

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records.

The Model Law legally enables the use of electronic transferable records that are functionally equivalent to transferable documents and instruments including bills of lading, bills of exchange, promissory notes and warehouse receipts.

"The use of electronic transferable records may bring a number of benefits to electronic commerce including speed and security of transmission as well as the possibility of reusing the information contained therein," UNCITRAL says.

"Electronic transferable records may be particularly relevant for certain business areas such as transport and logistics and finance (fintech). Moreover, their use allows for the establishment a fully paperless trade environment."

The MLETR sets out the requirements for the use of an electronic transferable record. It defines control as the functional equivalent of possession of a transferable document or instrument.

The MLETR also provides guidance on the assessment of the reliability of the method used to manage the electronic transferable record, on change of medium (electronic to paper and the reverse), and on cross-border aspects, among other items.

The final version of the Model Law will be made available by UNCITRAL on its electronic commerce website when available.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019